Thursday, December 13, 2018
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Yellow gold vs. green gold
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Gold project seen destroying forest land and water resources.

The La Colosa gold mine in central Colombia is estimated to hold some 12.3 million ounces of the yellow metal, but another treasure is at risk.

The project, operated by South African gold miner AngloGold Ashanti in the Tolima department, sits within a nature reserve, home to impressive cloud forests and near important agricultural areas.

Work there, which began in 2007, had been paralyzed in 2008 after the Environment, Housing and Land Development Ministry found the company did not have the proper permits to drill.

Some critics argue mining in the area is endangering local farming of coffee, fruits and vegetables. The ore grade is also very low, meaning large quantities of land would have to be moved in order to extract the gold.

In an interview with Colombian environmental magazine Catorce 6, US hydrogeologist Robert Moran said that the main problem with the mine is the amount of water it would use. Citing company officials, he said its planned use of water — 1 cubic meter per ton of ore per second — would been 630 million to 950 million cubic meters of water per year for the 20-30 million tons of ore it plans to process a year.

That amounts to “between some 9 billion and 24 billion cubic meters for the life of the mine,” based on its 15-25 year lifespan, said Moran, whom the Pax Christi humanitarian organization contracted to evaluate the impacts of open-pit gold mining there last February.

He added that the “greatest risk” is toxic materials in the water sources that could damage crops and the local fish population.
AngloGold Ashanti — the world’s third-largest gold producer and a major miner in Latin America — expects to produce 800,000 ounces of gold annually for a value of some US$700 million.
—Latinamerica Press.

Latinamerica Press / Noticias Aliadas
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