Constitutional Court Orders Suspension of Gold Mining to Two Companies in Marmato

(Translated by Mai Tyler, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The High Court called for further prior consultation before continuing mining activities in the state of Caldas.

The Seventh Chamber of Revision of Tutelas (a legal resource granted to individuals by the 1991 Constitution.  It grants Colombians the right to allege that a law is unconstitutional as it applies to them, and to seek compensation) of the Constitutional Court ordered the temporary suspension of gold mining in Marmato (Caldas) by multinational companies Gran Colombia Gold and Minerales Andinos de Occidental. This provisional measure was taken with the intent to reinforce the High Court’s request for prior consultation.

The High Court granted the tutela to the prior requests to members of two communities – the indigenous Cartama community; and the Afrocolombian Asojomar community, “who make a living from artisanal and informal mining in ViIllonza,¨ located in the highest part of El Burro Mountain in Marmato, Caldas, reversing a previous decision of the Superior Court of Manizales.

To ensure the enforcement of the new provision, the Corporation ordered the Mayor’s office of Marmato ¨to offer as much support as possible within the confines of the law, ¨ to enforce the guided measures of the suspension of mining activities. In addition, the Ministry of Mining will discontinue granting requests to mine in the region.

¨We have ordered the companies Gran Colombia Gold and Minerales Andinos de Occidente S.A. to immediately suspend ongoing mining activities, either direct or proxy, in the highest part of El Burro mountain, specifically in the Villonza mine in the municipality of Marmato, Caldas,¨ read the resolution.

Finally, the ombudsman was ordered to ¨support, accompany and supervise the compliance with¨ the fault ¨with the goal of guaranteeing the effectiveness of the rights that protect the members of the indigenous community of Cartam and the members of Asojomar that live and/or practice traditional mining, informally and by hand, in the Villonza mine in El Burro mountain.¨ The court stopped without effect the resolution GTRM No. 751 in September 2010 where they ¨ordered the closure and eviction of the Villonza mine in El Burro mountain in Marmato, Caldas, until proper procedures of the prior consultation process were implemented and followed.¨

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