The mayors of five municipalities in northern Colombia’s Cesar mining corridor want the government of President Gustavo Petro to phase out mining operations with a smooth transition into other industries instead of an abrupt halt.
About 90% of the corridor’s economy is based on mining and related activities.
The mayors expressed concern regarding Petro’s stance on mining, according to local media, particularly since little has been done since Glencore subsidiary Prodeco handed its coal mining concessions back to the Colombian state.
The move left almost 5,000 people unemployed. They’re surviving by working on nearby farms or by starting small business ventures. Local leaders say some municipalities are losing about $4 million in taxes and royalties the mining industry is stagnant.
The process of finding a new owner for the mines has been suspended until Prodeco fulfills technical, environmental, labour and financial obligations, according to a report by Caracol, a local private television network.