Strikes in northern Colombia as law prohibits small-scale mining

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Miners using so called “traditional” techniques from northern Colombia have gone on strike in response to the passing of a law to make small-scale mining illegal. In the region of Segovia and Remedios in Northeast Antioquia small-scale mining, also known as traditional or artisan mining, constitutes the majority of mining activity. According to the new government legislation the small-scale mining can only be allowed if contracts are signed with the transnational Canadian company Gran Colombia Gold. However, according to spokespersons for the miners, under the current contracts the mining company seeks to keep 60-70% of the final product, a split which is deemed unacceptable and labelled by some of the striking workers as a form of slavery.

In response to the resistance of the up to 20,000 miners the Colombian riot police have been deployed and there were reports of shots being fired.

The strike has been ongoing for one month.

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