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La Vega-Mocoa Project, Colombia


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The Colombian Suroccident is a rich territory, with fertile soils that guarantee a permanence and variety of crops, with important natural reserves and with people belonging to a diversity of this region. Other activities have developed mining that traditionally have been done artisanally, activity that has recently been criminalized and stigmatized; Leaving a free panorama to be the large mining megaprojects that are carried out in these territories. For this reason, the multinational of South African origin AngloGold Ashanti together with the Canadian B2Gold, in February 2008 announced that he would extract gold, copper and molybdenum in two municipalities La Vega (Cauca) and Mocoa (Putumayo).

This region has one of the most serious problems in Colombia, the internal armed conflict that has left millions of displaced persons, deaths and of course the misery of war. Faced with such a panorama, it would be believed that no capital would invest in this region, but it is not the case of AngloGold Ashanti because it seems to respond to similar patterns of those acted in other countries (also with internal armed conflict as in Africa), where , international organizations have documented the commitment of this mining company with irregular armed structures in order to guarantee their income and the development of large-scale farms, being able to negotiate with the State in more advantageous conditions for them. A comparative analysis of the municipalities in which there are profound interests of the multinational with the municipalities in which there has been a positioning of paramilitarism, which has directly and systematically attacking the civilian population through different actions (extrajudicial executions, arrests illegal, torture, dispossession of belongings, enforced disappearances and forced displacement), shows that more than 70% are coincided.

In this area there is a strong presence of The Public Force (Police, Army and Armada), as well as the paramilitary bands also make presence, which, financed by drug trafficking, dispute the territory with the Front 29 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Front Commonsos del Sur Del National Liberation Army (ELN).

About Mocoa (capital of the department of Putumayo) include copper and molybdenum deposits, which consis have 4 contracts on hectares and 2 applications on 3,961 hectares.

At present, in addition to the requests for granting and titles granted, the Minister of Minas determined in February From 2012 at least mining strategic areas in Cauca, which correspond to a little more than 105,000 hectares. They are areas with mining potential where different companies will have to compete to explore and exploit minerals and the government will choose which better conditions present.

The definition of these areas excluded Among others, areas protected environmentally, but non-protected and traditional territories of indigenous people. Therefore, the conflict in the Cauca and Putumayo not only revolves around the armed actors, but also of this mining activity.

This multinational (AngloGold Ashanti) It has granted at least titles and is waiting for 250 more presented applications, which clearly compromises not only the sovereignty of these traditional indigenous peoples, but also the environmental deterioration that can be presented with this activity, as well as practices traditions that They develop peasants, indigenous and Afro-descendants.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:La Vega-Mocoa Project, Colombia
State or province:Cauca and Putumayo.
Location of conflict:La Vega y Mocoa
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Copper
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In the La Vega-Mocoa project, two multinationals participate (Anglogold Ashanti and B2Gold) with approximately 13,654 hectares for exploration and exploitation of different minerals such as copper, gold and molybdenum; In the exploration stage the B2Gold multinational acquired a 100% share in the copper mocoa (CU) and molybdenum (MO).

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Project area:13,654.
Level of Investment for the conflictive project21,400,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:45,000
Start of the conflict:2008
Company names or state enterprises:Anglo Gold Ashanti from South Africa
B2 GOLD Corp from Canada
Relevant government actors:Presidency of the Republic, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Colombian Institute of Mining and Geology, National Army of Colombia, Government of Cauca and Putumayo
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:CENSAT Agua Viva, Latin American Institute for An Alternative Society and Law (ILSA), Peasant and Popular Process of La Vega, Organized Community Action Joints (Assocomunal), Indigenous Regional Council of CAUCA (CRIC)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsIrregular armed groups
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Institutional changes
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:It is clear that these communities reject the imposition of the mining multinationals in their territory, not to megaminery. Some peasant-based organizations pose the collective appropriation of the territory under the legal figure of the peasant reserve areas (ZRC)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:There is no triumph of environmental justice because the multinational (AngloGold Ashanti) has granted at least 45 titles and is waiting for 250 more presented applications, which clearly compromises not only the sovereignty of these traditional indigenous peoples, but also the environmental deterioration that It can be presented with this activity, as well as practices traditions that develop peasants, indigenous and Afro-descendants. The national government has shown extensive support for multinationals that have projects in this area, leaving only stigmatization and abandonment to all those indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant communities. The fight is just beginning.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

El Código de Recursos Naturales: Esta norma surgió en 1974 como

principal respuesta de Colombia ante los acuerdos alcanzados en la

Ley 99 de 22 de diciembre de 1993. Se crea el MINISTERIO DEL MEDIO

conservación del medio ambiente y los recursos naturales renovables, se

Ley 1021 de abril 20 de 2006: es la Ley General Forestal

Ley 387 de 1997: en la cual se adoptan medidas para la prevención del

Conferencia de Estocolmo sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo.

AMBIENTE, se reordena el Sector Público encargado de la gestión y

organiza el Sistema Nacional Ambiental -SINA.

estabilización socioeconómica de los desplazados internos por la


desplazamiento forzado; la atención, protección, consolidación y

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

CENSAT (2010). Conflictos socio-ambientales por la extracción Minera

en Colombia. Casos de la inversión británica. Bogotá: CENSAT.

Fierro, Julio. (2012) Politicas Mineras en Colombia. Bogota.

Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina OCMAL

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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Meta information
Last update08/04/2014
Conflict ID:694
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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