Colombia: Report by NGO PAX alleges that Drummond, Prodeco (part of Glencore) supported right-wing paramilitaries

In March 2014 (updated June 2014), The Netherlands’ based NGO PAX issued the report, “The Dark Side of Coal: Paramilitary Violence in the Mining Region of Cesar, Colombia”. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the US-based company Drummond and Switzerland-based Glencore/Prodeco to respond to this report and two press articles that appeared in the Colombian Semana magazine and El Espectador newspaper.

Drummond and Glencore responded. You can find the responses below; Drummond response in English is an annex of the PAX report.

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Author: Verdad Abierta

Quienes financiaron o colaboraron con grupos paramilitares también tendrán que comparecer ante la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz. recopila las investigaciones de las empresas que más han sonado en los estrados de Justicia y Paz…No solo los guerrilleros y los militares tendrán que comparecer ante la justicia transicional, también lo harán los terceros que financiaron la guerra. Sin embargo, Humberto de Calle, jefe del equipo negociador del gobierno en La Habana, ha aclarado que no se tratará de una “cacería de brujas”, sino que, tal como dice el acuerdo, responderán quienes financiaron o colaboraron –no como resultado de coacciones–  a grupos armados ilegales…[y] quienes  tuvieron una participación “determinante y habitual” en la comisión de delitos de “lesa humanidad,  el genocidio, los graves crímenes de guerra, la toma de rehenes u otra privación grave de la  libertad, la tortura, las ejecuciones  extrajudiciales, la desaparición forzada, el acceso carnal violento y  otras formas de violencia sexual, la sustracción de menores, el desplazamiento forzado, además del reclutamiento de menores conforme a lo establecido en el Estatuto de Roma”…Durante los 11 años que lleva en aplicación la Ley de Justicia y Paz, los exparamilitares han señalado a ganaderos, palmicultores, empresas bananeras, y petroleras como las financiadoras de su accionar armado y, en algunos casos, como auspiciadoras de asesinatos de sindicalistas y desplazamientos forzados.

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29 July 2014

PAX report on role of mining companies in allegedly promoting paramilitary violence catalyses push to boycott “blood coal” in Europe & USA

Author: Nicolas Bedoya, Colombia Reports

“Why Drummond and Glencore are accused of exporting Colombian blood coal”, 2 Jul 2014 

The push to boycott “blood coal” exported from Colombia by Drummond and Glencore is gaining momentum in Europe after the publication of a report in which dozens of victims and victimizers testified that the multinational mining companies financed and promoted death squads. “Blood coal”…is the term used by…PAX…to refer to coal extracted from areas in Colombia where paramilitary violence has been particularly severe. According to [PAX]…coal coming from the Colombian mines of the Glencore and Drummond multinationals has been stained by blood, as several members of the death squads guilty of an estimated 2,600 homicides…have testified their formation was supported and financed by the mining firms….The NGO wants [the Dutch] parliament to ban the trade of Colombian coal until the multinationals in question have implemented appropriate measures to guarantee the end of human rights violations…and compensated victims of the violence they are accused of having financed…

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6 July 2014

[PDF] The Dark Side of Coal: Paramilitary violence in the Cesar region, Colombia

Author: Marianne Moor and Joris van de Sandt, PAX (The Netherlands)

"[PDF] The Dark Side of Coal: Paramilitary violence in the Cesar region, Colombia"- 01 June 2014

PAX started fieldwork in 2011 with a view to analysing the human rights violations committed against the population of the Cesar coalmining region since the mid-1990s. The scope included both past and current infringements. The results of the study were intended to raise international attention for the suffering of the victims and the security situation of vulnerable groups, and to initiate a public debate about measures to relieve their situation. In 2012, PAX gained possession of written and oral statements made under oath by several exparamilitary commanders and former mining company contractors. The testimonies alleged that, for years, the mining companies Drummond and Prodeco had provided financial and logistical support to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC: United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) in the north of Colombia, in particular to the Juan Andrés Álvarez (JAA) Front of the Northern Bloc. The release of this new information led PAX to formulate the objective underlying this report. PAX wants to publicly report statements by both perpetrators and victims of gross human rights violations committed against the population in the Cesar mining region in the 1996-2006 period so as to describe the alleged role of the mininc companies in the paramilitary violence, the effects of which continue to this day. The aim of this report is to contribute to the truth finding process in Cesar and to further the resolution of the consequences of the violence for the victims…

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Company response
6 July 2014

[PDF] Drummond response

Author: Drummond Ltd.

[PDF] Drummond response (see Annex 1 of PAX report)- 01 June 2014

I am writing on behalf of Drummond Ltd. In regard to your report:  “Facts and Figures on Coal Mining in Cesar.” As detailed more fully below, Drummond disputes the “facts” of your report and hereby puts you on notice that the publication of this report will result in Drummond seeking any and all legal action available to it.

Drummond Ltd., beginning with the grant of the La Loma coal concession in 1989 undertook construction of a world class mine, railway and port. This was during a period of great turmoil in Colombia. From inception to the present Drummond refuses to become part of any conflict and has never supported illegal groups.

Drummond has been successfully defending allegations of the nature cited in your report for over ten years.  In 2007 a Jury determined that Drummond was not responsible for the deaths of the three union leaders who were killed in 2001. More recently, a District Court in Alabama dismissed two more cases based on allegations of Drummond providing support to paramilitaries. Drummond has prevailed in every case that has been decided by a judge or jury…

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Company response
5 July 2014

[PDF] Glencore's response

Author: Glencore Xstrata

"[PDF] Glencore  Response to PAX"- 24 March 2014

We refer to your report on paramilitary violence in the mining region of Cesar, Colombia. You have sent us an extract from this report under cover of your email dated 11th March 2014 which sets out the chapters which you believe are of interest to Prodeco/Glencore…We consider many of the serious allegations contained in your report with regard to Prodeco/Glencore to be untrue and unsubstantiated. It also appears that parts of the report have already been leaked to the media and material which has been extracted from your report appears to have been included in an article published by de Volksrant ( on 4th March 2014. We believe that we have cooperated openly and constructively with your leading inquiries and investigations for the report. This included arranging for meetings for Pax Christi with Ivan Glasenberg and other members of senior management on 3 April 2013 in Baar, Switzerland, as well as with Manuel Gutierrez and Luis Ochoa in Bogota in May 2013, at which all accusations made by Gelvez were strongly denied. We are therefore very disappointed that the report seeks to severely taint the image of Prodeco/Glencore despite all attempts to refute the various allegations. ..

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