Colombia: Assessment of social impacts of Cerrejon Coal highlights both concerns & improvements
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Author: Carbones del Cerrejón Limited (Cerrejón)
Carbones del Cerrejón Limited - Cerrejón - and its shareholders, Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Xstrata Coal, welcome the publication of an independent review of Cerrejón’s social engagement...The report highlights a number of areas of good practice by Cerrejón including: the operation’s...commitment to contributing to the sustainable development of local communities; its extensive human rights training programme for employees, contractors, police and army representatives...The report also identifies areas in which the mine could enhance its social practices, including...[to] facilitate reconciliation between the disparate groups formed by the former inhabitants of the village of Tabaco and address the current situation of all former residents through a consultative, participatory process...Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Xstrata Coal made the following joint statement..."As shareholders in Cerrejón, each of our companies welcomes the generally favourable observations made by the Panel...Cerrejón’s management team and its shareholders are committed to carrying forward the Panel’s recommendations with vigour and we look forward to the publication of Cerrejón’s detailed response and action plan at the end of this month..."
Author: Social Review Panel (Salomon Kalmanovitz - Colombia, Elena Serrano - Chile, Nick Killick - England, John Harker - Canada)
In late August, 2007, Cerrejon and its shareholders announced the commissioning of an independent “social review” of the company’s past and current social engagement...The review panel held numerous meetings in Colombia, both in Bogota and in La Guajira, where it was privileged to meet with stakeholders...La Guajira region is one of the poorest of the country...Each of the shareholder companies which own Cerrejon [Cerrejon Coal is owned by Anglo American PLC, BHP Billiton, and Xstrata Coal] is a signatory to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative...To foster sustainable development and poverty reduction in La Guajira, Cerrejon should increase efforts to encourage and attract civil society organisations...it is clear to the panel that the Resettlement issue is central, and challenging...It is impossible to think of Resettlement and Cerrejon without thinking about Tabaco...the initial resettlement left the Tabaco community divided and bitter...It seems to us that Cerrejon can afford, and should afford, to address the situation all the Tabaco families find themselves in, whatever their stand on negotiation was in 2002...this kind of solution will only be sustainable if a fully participatory consultative process involving stakeholders supports it...