Target: CEO of Gran Colombia Gold, Lombardo Paredes Arenas
Goal: Stop construction of open-pit mine that will displace hundreds of people and poison the environment with cyanide
The small town of Marmato in Colombia has been mining local gold mines for over 500 years. When the Colombian government opened the country up for foreign investment, a Canadian company began buying up the villagers’ ancestral lands to build a vast open-pit gold mine. The construction of this mine is displacing thousands of Marmato’s inhabitants and poisoning the second largest river in Colombia.
Marmato was a rare situation in Colombia: a town where almost 100 percent of the people were employed, with very little crime, and no paramilitary or guerrilla threats. Most of the people living there were working in ancient mines that had been there for centuries. This provided many people with stable work, fixed pay, and benefits, which are hard things to come by in Colombia, a country that is torn apart by a 50-year-old internal conflict.
Gran Colombia Gold, the company that is building the mine, is buying increasing amounts of the villagers’ ancestral homelands. The plans for the vast mine “will not only displace thousands of Marmato’s residents but take an enormous toll on the land,” says Mark Grieco, who made the film Marmato documenting the miners’ struggle against foreign investors.
The Canadian company will use cyanide to process the gold. They will have to deposit the cyanide waste into large reservoirs which would then run straight into Rio Cauca, the second-largest river in Colombia. By signing this petition you will urge Gran Colombia Gold to leave Marmato alone and abandon its mining plans.
Dear Lombardo Paredes Arenas,
The news of the Gran Colombia Gold’s plans for a vast open-pit mine in the small town of Marmato, Colombia are saddening. The locally-owned gold mines that your company is buying have been owned and run by the inhabitants of the village for over five centuries. Your plans for this gold mine will displace thousands of Marmato’s inhabitants and will also poison the environment.
Your company is destroying these peoples’ ancestral homeland by displacing its citizens and spreading toxic waste into one of Colombia’s main rivers. By using cyanide to process the gold, you will be flooding Rio Cauca, Colombia’s second-largest river, with dangerous chemicals. Not only does this poison the earth and the people of Marmato, but it could have far-reaching effects on other areas of Colombia as well.
Please abandon your plans to build this open-pit mine in Marmato and stop displacing the village’s inhabitants.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Calistemon via Wikimedia Commons