Escudo de la República de Colombia

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Communities do not distinguish between mining exploration and exploitation

Erroneous corporate image, diminished resources and slow progress are just some of the consequences for mining exploration firms because communities mistake them for exploitation projects.

Medellín, 29 de julio de 2015Agencia de Noticias UN-

According to Medina now companies ask if in the exploration process communities are involved.

Due to the confusion between exploration and exploitation, the community demands resources for its development.

For exploration tasks companies are not compelled to invest in the areas they explore.

Exploration is frequently carried out by foreign companies giving the idea they have millionaire economic resources to share.

For almost two years Medina interviewed the community of Puerto Libertador, neighbor of the Cerromatoso exploitation.

The research project determined that the community links exploration with environmental exploitation.

As concluded by Ana Marcela Medina Carrascal, Colegio Mayor de Antioquia’ Planning and Social Development graduate in her UNal Environmental and Social Development master’s thesis which she carried out in the township of Puerto Libertador (Province of Córdoba). 

“Exploration companies are not compelled by Colombian regulations to have social responsibility duties. Everything they do is completely voluntary. However the communities do not distinguish between a company which explores and invests in geological studies and one which exploits and produces revenues from the minerals obtained,” she said. 

Therefore the corporate image of these exploration companies is undesirably impacted as they do not have the possibility of attentively responding to social community limitations, which then responds negatively with strikes and shutdowns. 

When a mining project arrives to a community and taking into account that the government does not heed to the needs of the communities, the latter see the exploration companies as saviors and begin to impose demands. 

In the Province of Córdoba where the Cerro Matoso mine is located, many other exploration companies arrive with the authorization of the Colombian Mining Agency and see their budgets reduced because the inhabitants impose their own rules to let them work. 

“Resources are compromised because companies are sustained by foreign capital for which government policies are unclear and they question why they need to send funds to build a park, a school or any other type of project when their objective is different. Therefore the assigned funds are insufficient and do not satisfy the needs of the communities,” she said. 

The communities are also impacted due to the indifference of exploration or exploitation companies which reflects on the way they operate and how they manage their resources. 

“Rural communities are more comprehensive and are more knowledgeable of the work of these exploration companies, as opposed to urban communities which only want money when they see a multinational company has entered their realm,” said Medina. 

The perception study has demonstrated that exploration companies are compelled to analyze the surrounding environment and the towns within the mining area where they are going to work; in order to avoid issues occurred due to confusion and ignorance of their activity. 

The following step of the research project is socializing with the exploration companies and the Office of the Mayor of Puerto Libertador which does not find the way to manage the situation because it does not understand what happens between the communities and the companies.

(Por: Fin/VHVR/DMH/AC
)
N.° 893

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