According to the United Nations, large-scale coal mining in northern Colombia has contributed to increased poverty, Spanish news agency EFE reported on Friday.
According to the cited UN report, areas highly affected are the townships of El Hatillo and Plan Bonito in the municipality of El Paso, and Boqueron in La Jagua de Ibirico, all located in the state of Cesar.
“Since the nineties, the presence of large-scale coal mining in the vicinity of these townships led to acute changes in the habits of the population,” the UN report reportedly said.
The three coal giants operating in this region are Drummond, CNR Americans and Prodeco, which is owned by Glencore Xstrata.
Some of the serious repercussions of mining in the region is “primarily access to water, health, development of agricultural activity and the change in their environment to see growing daily barren mountains of waste material or exploitation,” stated the UN report.
Moreover, the UN report said that, “a high rate of prostitution also occurs among young people, including high school students, and drug addiction, mainly among men.”
Additionally, the UN claimed that the mining activities have spurred an increase in rackets among the population.
At the beginning of his term, President Juan Manuel Santos made mining one of the “motors” of his “Prosperity for All” economic policy.
Cesar generates 50.9% of all domestic coal in Colombia. According to the National Mining Agency, it’s production in 2011 was 43,687.56 kilotons.
The UN monitored the current mining situation in Cesar during a visit to the state in March 2013.
Impoverished municipalities in Cesar
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