(Translated by Haley Olig, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
The multinational company AUX with projects in nearby páramo (unique mountain ecosystem found between 3000-5000 meters above sea level that is a sensitive habitat for plants that convert mist into liquid water) Santurbán was sold to a holding company of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
After months of speculation around a possible sale to entrepreneurs in Qatar, the company Mubadala Development Co. of the United Arab Emirates acquired 100% of the company.
The transaction amount is still unknown.
What has happened in Santurbán after the demarcation? One thing is clear after the Ministry of Environment’s determination that mining could in fact be done: the demarcation and the projects of the corporations do not entirely coincide. However, the outlook for Soto Norte is still fuzzy.
After two years of waiting, in December of 2014 the Ministry of Environment finally revealed the demarcation of Santurbán.
Almost 10 months later, the process had apparently lost “tension”, but not because an effective and definitive solution had been found.
The Vice Minister of the environment, Pablo Vieira, claimed that the domain of his department was delimitation; after they had done that, they looked for support from other ministries.
“Our commitment was more than to articulate to Minimas and the Ministry of Agriculture to bring programs to the area,” he said.
Now, if one thing is clear, not only with the demarcation, but also with the article that includes the parameters of the country’s National Development Plan, is that there will be mining.
The three mining companies with the most titles are currently in different locations, but the agenda would be viable.
The Little That Is Known
The multinational mining companies that have projects and land titles in the area of influence of the páramo (unique mountain ecosystem found between 3000-5000 meters above sea level that is a sensitive habitat for plants that convert mist into liquid water) have refused to comment in recent months.
The company least affected by the demarcation was AUX, which after the bankruptcy of owner Erik Batista, has not yet accepted an offer ‘sounded’ from Quatar. However, the company is currently opening labor calls in California, which implies the reactivation of operations.
For its part Leyhat, which operates mostly in Vetas, has not made any announcement; although it is said in the region that it was the company most affected by the delimitation.
Eco Oro compromised a portion of its project. However, sources close to the company state that in this moment it is terminating technical studies and looking for capital from the international market.
And the Control?
To leave open the possibility of mining development in the area and simultaneously protect the area, control is an important issue.
Vice Minister Vieira believes that the greatest advantage arising from the demarcation is that it provides tools and agencies to control and monitor processes before, during, and after the mining period.
However, he also believes that a serious commitment from environmental authorities in the area – in this case the Cdmb – is necessary.
Delimitation for the Rest of the Páramos
The Vice Minister of the Environment, Pablo Vieira, stated that the process of the demarcating all of Colombia’s páramos is now underway.
“We are building a roadmap for the delimitation of the rest of the country’s páramos. We have the foundation to construct this process, because we already have Igac mapping. There are many páramos that are not tapped in any way, so they are very easy to demarcate; while others are complex.”
Vieira explained that in Antioquia they were able to delimitate three páramos relatively quickly.
He also said that the President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos has committed to have all of the páramos ready at the end of 2016.