A small Colombian town just rejected a $35 billion gold mine project, putting people and the Earth before profit.

Around 98 percent of the residents in Cajamarca said no to the mine due to concerns over the environment and water pollution – and Colombian Mining Minister German Arce doesn’t seem too happy with the results.

South African company AngloGold Ashanti aimed to build the gold mine, called La Colosa, in Central Colombia, and it could have been the biggest gold mine in South America. The national government was in favor of La Colosa, saying mining is vital as they recover from war with Marxist rebels. But residents of Cajamarca, where the mine would be located, overwhelmingly rejected the project in a recent referendum. According to the BBC, 19,000 people live in the town, and only 76 locals voted in favor of the gold mine while 6,100 voted against.

Local 21-year-old student Camila Méndez told Mongabay before the results were in, “I voted no for the future generations. I have two nephews of seven and three years old. Even though they do not live in Cajamarca, I know that I want them to enjoy the little I’ve been able to enjoy so far, as it concerns the countryside. If we win…we’d show the complete world that Cajamarca is able to defeat a huge multinational enterprise, a mining monster as AngloGold Ashanti.”

But Arce said campaigners misled voters. He said AngloGold Ashanti had been issued an exploration license already, and that license would remain valid. Local authorities may control the land, but Arce said the national government controls any underground riches.

AngloGold Ashanti still needs an environmental license, and if that is awarded Arce said it would be up to the courts or the country’s Congress to decide if local or national authorities would win the fight.

Locals fear the mine would damage the mountain environment of the area, or pollute water sources.

Responses to "Colombian town turns down $35B gold mine – prefers a clean environment"

  1. Unknown says:

    I wish the citizens of this town all the support I can state...typically situations like this end up a victory for big money, hopefully that doesn't happen here. The world is watching...

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hope the world keeps a spotlight on this. Small villages have been wiped out in many parts of S.A. in situations like this so that mining could go ahead unopposed.

  3. Unknown says:

    "A mountain of gold would not be sufficient to satisfy a greedy man."
    - The Buddha

  4. Anamaria Trujillo says:

    Go my country!!! No, no to mines that would pollute the precious Environment!!

  5. Mo Markham says:

    Thank you thank you for this! And if you end up with a fight on your hands, please reach out to the environmental community for help. We are not going to allow money to rule the world anymore. We have too much at stake. I so appreciate your having the sense to know that! The Climate Save Movement would be happy to try to help you, or to find others who could. In solidarity!

  6. thank you formaking thw world aware of your courage. keep us informed please

  7. Anonymous says:

    Goldman Sachs owns the controlling interest of AngloGold Ashanti Mining Company...just FYI

  8. Unknown says:

    May Gaia's beautiful land be protected and safe from the machinations of greedy warmongers,...particularly other countries looking for a reason to "take over"the land and its people and its riches !This is an old pattern that must stop !

  9. Unknown says:

    Feliciaciones, los cajamarquesas!

    Sharing widely, we don't get to hear enough good news from beautiful Colombia.

  10. Morla says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Also, the mountain of the image is actually a volcano... The excavation could have a dangerous impact there

  12. Yeah, they prefer coke

  13. At the end of the day the money goes only for few people and local people only gets the environmental problems that's the rea situation

  14. Anonymous says:

    We the People need to as guardian's of this world fight to protect this planet from thoughs that do not care about future generations and the future of Mother Earth ��

  15. Unknown says:

    The mining company will destroy the who environment in the area - they are not concerned with the wellbeing of the people or the environment, just the money. Congratulations for saying No.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We are fighting Canadian mining companies here in Macedonia, in agriculture and wine growing region of our country, pushing gold mining against the protest of the local population. Check out @zdravakotlina and support our fight against destruction of our land and poisoning our people

  17. Unknown says:

    What's money, as compared with the with the environment? To hell with gold mining. Very soon, the monster sodium cyanide will follow.
    We stand firmly with you. The people has spoken. Government must listen...

  18. Unknown says:


  19. Kelvin Dushnisky, the CEO needs to be removed from the equation. Either that or you end up with more war.. Companies need to fall before they get control of more and more government in more countries. End the wealthy autocracy.

  20. The One says:

    V is for Victory!!

  21. Unknown says:

    I highly doubt they turned it down because of the environment. In the mountains of Columbia, I'd place a safe bet that the mine was going to be too close to a Cocaine production area.

  22. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life.. Money can't buy descent minds...

  23. wow..... It is not always about money....I see

  24. South African investors - Divest from Anglogold Ashanti. http://fossilfreesa.org.za/act-now/. Speak to Investec about their BSI fund.

  25. Unknown says:

    See us as governments are greedy for money regardless of the environment that gives us life, stripping trees, polluting rivers and river sources, frackinging and glyphosate leaving only deserts without water, without animals and without vegetation , Let us be aware cruel human species .. !!

  26. Unknown says:

    See us as governments are greedy for money regardless of the environment that gives us life, stripping trees, polluting rivers and river sources, frackinging and glyphosate leaving only deserts without water, without animals and without vegetation , Let us be aware cruel human species .. !!

  27. Unknown says:

    I live in co Tyrone and dalradian will not destroy our communities and poison and fracking cynide and gold mining .not a local person is employed no jobs for local people dalradian gold mining get out of 6 counties of sperrin mountains .uve destroyed out forests and u will destroy no more ..poison our water and cynide. And greed paying people to tell lies and confuse the people..we in co Tyrone wont allow dalradian anymore enough is enough. Rise up and fight with us

  28. Grm says:

    All good energies and honor to those who have resisted the gold mining... Big corporations seem always to destroy everything good wherever they rape and ravage the environment.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Say no to big Multi-National Corporations like what they did to West Papua in Indonesia. Turning a blind eye to the natives while Genocide is taking place exploiting the natural resources in the name of money. Free West Papua from tyranny.

  30. Unknown says:

    why not search for gold in white waters or lakes? like what i've seen in discovery channel. they keep the environment safe while mining gold nuggets. (",) from philippines here

  31. Nyeya Yen says:

    Let us also in Ghana decide and I mean the local population of Talensi, Atewa Forest area want our lands to be mined for gold and bauxite. We should care passionately for the future generations. What have AngloGold Ashanti got to show us for their mining in Ghana. Environmental disaster and more poverty for the mass of our people.

  32. Unknown says:

    Does the gold mining company supports Climate Change?
    How about the future generations where will they live?
    Who would really benefit from gold?
    Only the few who owns the piece where the company will build their buildings and the rest of the people will suffer or destroyed.All those who goes around digging for minerals are the trendiest and corrupt individuals who pay politicians to kill those who are against their agendas and majority were outsiders.

  33. Unknown says:

    I cannot clap for something that partakes in biodiversity and environmental destruction please. Whether legal or illegal, gold mining has a negative consequences on the environment. We should rather think of reducing it or stop it for the mean time because
    Gold is not a renewable resources and that should be a last thing we go for and en cas de force majeur.
    Ghana was called Gold Coast because at first, gold were all around at the surface and on the river bed. Now to find them man need to destroyed vegetations and dig deep to the underground.
    This refineries are encouraging more destruction of the biodiversity to my opinion
    How are we going to leave the world for the future generations?
    What resources are they going to survived on if we deplete all? Gold is not renewable. U have gold and you don't have food to buy is nonsense.
    Rice should be our gold
    Corn shld be our gold
    Food ingredients shld be our gold. Yam, cassava, ...
    *Stop destroying the environment for gold untill we get a technology to mine gold without destroying biodiversity.*
    Thank you

  34. Great news majority against for no mining saving tomorrow generation.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I love the response from the locals, just hope the government wouldn't take it by force. These bastards never cares about anybody, lost homes and most times no amenities at all, Yet no good air to breath

  36. Anonymous says:

    Is there anyone out there who believes that $35 Billion won't buy more than enough politicians to subvert any "local control". Any perceived victory will be short lived.

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