Two trucks carrying wood were set on fire Monday in the midst of protests taking place around the Colombian towns of Segovia and Remedios, located in the northern Antioquia department.
For the past 25 days, some 10,000 artisanal and ancestral miners operating in the area have been on strike and rallying against expansion plans by Zandor Capital, a subsidiary of Canadian-based Gran Colombia Gold, and also in opposition to Bill 169 which, they say, would eradicate artisanal mining.
Even though protesters didn’t take responsibility for torching the trucks and, according to Noticias Caracol, the people accused of doing it were able to escape, the incident took place in an area adjacent to where the demonstrations are happening.
In response to the recent developments in Segovia and Remedios, Mining Vice Minister Carlos Andrés Cante asked the small-scale miners to negotiate their position.
“We have been open to a dialogue but we are not going to move forward if the strike and blockades continue. We have asked the leaders of the mining table to come and talk to the provincial government in Medellín, but they don’t seem willing to do so,” he told RCN Radio.
Cante reminded the protesters that there are 34 Mining Production Units formalized in Segovia, which employ 2,500 people and help eradicate illegal activities.
I would like to see the Govt set up buyers who would buy the concentrate @ 80% of spot take a tax pay cash and ship the concentrate to a private smelter so the locals would not be using mercury to run small batches of con to smelt themselves. Let the small miner work a 12 hour day to support his family & girlfriend instead of growing coco.
Agreed. The problem is right now they can’t sell gold to anybody and Gran Colombia wants 77% of the gold value without putting up any capital to operate the independent Mines. A 50/50 split would be the ideal solution for anybody working an independent mine on their property. This would keep everybody happy and make it profitable for all involved. Gran Colombia would get an increase in production because now all this ore that is going to other places would be part of their production.
You can’t put 40,000 people out of the economic cycle without major repercussions, but this is not Gran Colombia issue rather than the decree that was issued on June 27th destroying the gold buying chain. In a perfect world all these controls make sense but when you take a town that has survived on gold for 200-300 years you must provide an alternative if not what you said above is the end result