“Environmental activist Cesar Garcia was shot dead on his farm in Tolima Department on Saturday. Photo: El Salmon Urbano
BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA – A Colombian environmental activist who led the opposition against a proposed gold mine in Tolima Department was assassinated over the weekend, local media reported.
Cesar Garcia, who was a leading voice against the ‘La Colosa’ gold mine project, was found shot in the head on his farm in the municipality of Cajamarca, Tolima Department on Saturday afternoon.
The South African multinational mining firm Anglogold Ashanti wants to create a so-called ‘mega-mine’ in the La Colosa municipality of Tolima.
The gold mine, still in the feasibility study phase, would be one of the largest open pit mines in Latin America, according to reports.
The Colombian government granted Anglogold Ashanti permission to begin the feasibility study despite widespread local opposition to the proposed mining project, according to reports.
A group called the Environmental Committee of Cajamarca has denounced the murder, and has requested that the Ministry of the Interior do more to protect people who speak out in the area.
The group also demanded the Prosecutor’s Office begin an investigation into Garcia’s murder and bring to justice those responsible.
Anglogold Ashanti has been slammed by human rights groups for its conduct in Latin America and Africa.
In May of this year, a court in the African country of Ghana served the firm with a writ for alleged health issues caused by chemicals the firm uses in the extraction of gold from a mine there, according to Ghana media reports.
The area in Tolima where the company wants to create a large-scale gold mine is a rice producing region, and inhabitants there worry the chemicals used in such a mine will pollute their ground water and other resources, reports said.”