The Ministry of Mines and Energy (Minminas) Thursday denied Canadian multinational company Greystar mining access in the Santurban region of northern Colombia, which acts as a watershed for 2.2 million Colombians, according to a Minminas press release Thursday.
“It must be sufficiently clear that in no way is an underground mining project viable that would compromise the ecosystem of the moorland [of Santurban],” stated Carlos Rodado Noriega, the minister for mines and energy.
The press release stated that the ecosystem of the moors performs the function of collecting, filtering and regulating groundwater and it is imperative that it be protected.
Minminas announced, in accordance with Colombian law, that if Greystar were to present a new project, the environmental and mining authorities would duly evaluate it the same as any proposed mining project.
The government’s policy on mining in Colombia is that the country’s mineral wealth can only be converted into prosperity for Colombians if mining activities are in compliance with internationally recognized environmental practices, according to the press release.
Last week, Greystar withdrew an application for an environmental and technical license for its $1 billion Angostura gold and silver mine project amid tense debate in that region.
However, the company then announced its intentions to continue to look for alternative ways to mine for gold and silver in the Santurban region, despite opposition from local authorities and environmental groups.
The Canadian firm, which invested some $150 million in the exploration phase, had said the project would create around 5,000 jobs in the region.