Mining Company Threatens Amazon Basin in Colombia

· Anthropology, Conflict, Environment

MOCOA CITY — A Mining Company under the name Sociedad Mocoa Ventures Ltda, could start works of mining in a virgin and delicate ecological system of the southern Colombia Massif. It is a natural area that fills the basins of several rivers and streams to the Amazon, announced indigenous and farm communities of that region this month.

The Mocoa Ventures has a license to extract gold, platinum, zinc, molybdenum, silver and other metals inside a biological corridor that gives birth to the Putumayo River (!) and other tributaries of the Amazon River. Such action, approved by the Colombian government, would mean the destruction of very delicate ecosystems where several endangered species of flora and fauna live; but it will alter also the livelihood of indigenous and farmer communities upon the contamination of their rivers.


La danta, especie en peligro, habitante del Alto Putumayo y el Macizo Colombiano.  

Mocoa Ventures is the Colombian version of the multinational mining company known as Anglo American PLC based in Johannesburg and London. It is one of the largest producer of platinum, diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore and metallurgical and thermal coal of the world. It is also one of the primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and it a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. A powerful economic group that has the capacity to desert the entire Planet !!!

The government of Alvaro Uribe provided concessions to this multinational between 2007 and 2009 for 30 years in 25 thousand hectares (61,776 acres) in one of the most precious Colombian ecosystems. They have the right to search and extract minerals in an area that includes rivers like Putumayo, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River; but also other water systems such as Mocoa, San José, Blanco, Pepino, Mulato and Guineo. This rich hydrographic system that is considered sacred for many indigenous communities, supplies water for the municipalities of Mocoa and Villagarzon, meaning more than 500 thousand inhabitants in the region. It is also the ancestral land of indigenous communities like Inga, Kamsa, Yanacona, Pastos and Siona.

Step into our world, is the frightening slogan of Anglo American PLC… For me, it would step on precious and vulnerable species of flora and fauna, creating a dessert, contaminating the waters, destroying ecosystems. Anglo American gave its rights – or created this local version – to Mocoa Ventures – it seems more like a poetic name, such an adventure into the jungle, to make the search of minerals. Last 25th of April was the final date to start the extraction of whatever they have found – little information has been made public and especially no communication with the local communities that are the authentic owners and guards of the natural environment. In any moment they could start, at least if there is a sort of national and international unity to prevent it and to declare that zone as a protected world area. We don’t need gold, platinum… we need water and our flora and fauna to protect our planet. It is a question of survival.

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