By Tatiana Acevedo
(Translated by Emily Schmitz, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.)
A few days ago the director of Public Issues for the Canadian mining company Greystar Resources explained to Bumanguesa press that the “Angostura” project will not affect watersheds in the area and that their environmental management plan is sustainable.
“It must be taken into account that the Von Humboldt Institute atlas includes the Santurbán jurisdiction and has been a mining district since colonial times,” explained the executive.
Despite the good news of the Canadian company, civil society in Bucaramanga has been organizing to oppose bidding on the environmental license that would open the door to exploitation. Traders, unions, universities, NGOs and the Departmental Assembly have all highlighted potential contamination and the extinction of water sources the project would bring along with it. The Autonomous Corporation for the Defense of the Plateaus denounced failures in compliance with maintenance of the zone’s vegetation already emerging in these beginning stages of exploration.
It is not only Santandereans who lack confidence. There has been reluctance towards Canadian mining companies throughout the world which, according to a report presented in October by the daily Le Devoir, hold the record for the greatest number of environmental and labor conflicts in the world. The examples of environmental catastrophes, human rights labor violations and union assassinations are so numerous that the Canadian opposition party, lead by Michael Ignatieff, is interested in persuading Ottawa Parliament to impose regulations on Canadian extractive companies operating in other countries.
However, Greystar, immune to demonstrations, complains about delays in its environmental license. Before broadcasting and putting the future of water in the region at risk, someone should explain to company directives and the director of public matters that we no longer live in “colonial times”.
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