Talks between Colombia’s government and striking miners once again broke down on Tuesday, increasing the chances that the mining protests in the north and west of the country will coincide with a massive national strike.
Talks have reached a stalemate on points regarding the rights of small scale and artisan miners who feel that they are being unfairly treated by the government.
Government and mining negotiators had hoped that the talks would see the end of a 24-day period of strikes that has seen damage to peoples lives and local economies.
Ramiro Restrepo, the president of miners’ union Conaminercol, said that the reason for the break down in talks was focused largely on the governments insistence that it only recognizes miners who have been mining for two years or more and the lack of legal support to prevent police from sabotaging mining equipment and arresting miners.
Restrepo told Radio Caracol that “we are calling on the government to create a new program of formalization for small and medium scale miners, which facilitates the formalization of mining groups and does not impede them.”
The miners have been on strike throughout the country as they protest about the perceived government persecution of small mining companies in favor of large multinational corporations.