The mayor of the Jericó municipality in Colombia’s Antioquia department said on Monday that his office’s proposal to modify the Territorial Planning Structure to protect the area surrounding the Quebradona mining project had failed at city council.
Talking to Caracol Radio, Mayor Jorge Pérez said that both the federal government and Quebradona’s owner AngloGold Ashanti (JSE:ANG) (ASX:AGG) (NYSE:AU) put enough pressure on city councillors to drive them to forfeit their votes on the matter.
According to Pérez, his proposal entailed protecting 60% of the soil around Quebradona, allowing only agricultural activities in the area and banning mining operations. To approve it, quorum at city council was needed but it wasn’t reached because many councillors didn’t show up for Monday’s session.
Since the matter will not be voted on again, the Mayor said it is considered closed.
Both the local executive and environmentalist groups have expressed concern over the possibility of AngloGold Ashanti’s project polluting the town’s aquifers. A number of legal procedures have been filed against Quebradona but most of them have failed to move forward.
Through its subsidiary Minera de Cobre Quebradona, AngloGold Ashanti has invested $65 million in advancing the 7,500-hectare project, which is estimated to host some 5 million tonnes of copper reserves, as well as smaller quantities of gold, silver and molybdenum.