News

Regarding the sanction issued by the ANLA on the delays in the completion of the resettlements

Bogotá, January 17, 2018

With regards to the Resolution issued by the National Environmental Licensing Authority (ANLA) in December 2017, by which three companies with coal mining operations in the department of Cesar are being sanctioned for the non-compliance of the time table to conclude the resettlement of the Plan Bonito, El Hatillo y Boquerón villages, Drummond makes the following clarifications:

  • The community of Plan Bonito was completely relocated between January and June 2014, after agreeing with the community the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) in November of 2013; it took almost three years of discussions to reach this phase of the resettlement. The RAP is the comprehensive and concerted plan that defines how the resettlement will be implemented. We are currently executing the plan to restore livelihoods, with the implementation of business models, income-producing projects and psychosocial support.
  • In El Hatillo, on December 21, 2017, representatives from the community and the mining companies reached an agreement on all of the elements that will be part of the RAP, with a total of 153 components agreed upon satisfactorily by the parties. The next step will be the validation and subsequent implementation of those agreements. It is also worth mentioning that as part of the resettlement process of El Hatillo, the Javeriana University conducted a health census update in this town and found the same health circumstances seen in other Colombian towns with similar conditions and characteristics.
  • In terms of Boquerón, the air quality readings taken are within the allowed parameters (and show that the emissions from mining operations are not the main source of particulate matter in the area); they do not pose a risk to the health of the residents as projected by ANLA in 2010 when ordering the resettlement of this town based on a theoretical study that provided inaccurate air quality projections. The mining companies are currently working on reaching consensus for a comprehensive plan that will improve the quality of life of Boquerón’s residents.
  • Regarding the delays, Drummond has conveyed to the environmental authorities since 2010, when the Ministry of Environment issued Resolutions 970 and 1525, that the timeframe that they established does not reflect the reality of the duration of a resettlement process. It is important to mention that these communities were not consulted by the government prior to issuing the resettlement resolutions, and according to the World Bank resettlement policies, “involuntary resettlement should be avoided where feasible, or minimized, exploring all viable alternative project designs.” No resettlement of the characteristics and conditions described in these resolutions, using international norms and standards, can be executed in a mandatory time period of one to two years as stated by the afore mentioned resolutions. Community resettlements are processes of extreme social complexity and their progress does not depend solely on the willingness of the companies.  A mandate of the resolutions is that these resettlements have to be completed by reaching a consensus with the communities on each and every single aspect that is included in this type of process. Achieving consensus with the communities has taken longer than the authorities, the companies and the residents themselves expected.
  • Drummond Ltd. has been serving and will continue to serve important needs of the communities in the resettlement process, not only in compliance with the order but also as part of its commitment to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the area of influence of its operations.
  • Throughout the entire process in negotiating a consensus with the communities, the authorities from the national level (ANLA, Prosecutor’s Office, Ombudsman’s Office, and Comptroller’s Office), regional level (Governor’s Office) and local level (Mayors’ Offices) have been involved.
  • For all of the reasons stated, Drummond filed an appeal with the ANLA so that the agency can reconsider its decision.
  • Drummond Ltd. has always complied and will continue to comply with the current laws and regulations.