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Undermining environmental justice? : community-company conflicts with La Colosa gold mine in Cajamarca, Colombia

Noreña Ramirez, Diana LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Colombian government pursues an extractive-led development trajectory in which mining is considered as a key factor for reviving the economy. However, while mining has been important in the economic development of some countries, it has also been associated to conflicts, product of its high environmental impact and, in many cases, unequal distribution of benefits. “La Colosa” is a gold open pit mine project proposed in Cajamarca, Colombia which has being highly questioned by scholars, journalists, communities and environmental organizations due to the possible impacts that it can have on the environment. However, social issues have not been thoroughly investigated. Projects of the magnitude of “La Colosa” are known to generate hope to the... (More)
Colombian government pursues an extractive-led development trajectory in which mining is considered as a key factor for reviving the economy. However, while mining has been important in the economic development of some countries, it has also been associated to conflicts, product of its high environmental impact and, in many cases, unequal distribution of benefits. “La Colosa” is a gold open pit mine project proposed in Cajamarca, Colombia which has being highly questioned by scholars, journalists, communities and environmental organizations due to the possible impacts that it can have on the environment. However, social issues have not been thoroughly investigated. Projects of the magnitude of “La Colosa” are known to generate hope to the local population where they are developed, as they can create jobs and improve the infrastructure of the place. Nevertheless, if the expectations about the benefits of mining are not fulfilled, this can lead to growing misunderstandings, mistrust and eventually conflict among local residents and the mining company. Studying the relationship that the company in charge of the project has with the community helps to understand both actors’ interests and needs, which at the same time helps to ameliorate tensions among them. In this study I analyzed the nature of the Student-Company relation, as students are the future decision makers and citizens of the world. I analyzed this relationship through the understanding of the socio-economic and cultural context in which it is developed. This relationship revealed that students are being marginalized in different ways. First of all, students do not have access to objective information, second, their cultural values are not considered, third they are excluded from the decision-making about the extraction of gold in Cajamarca and finally they are being forced into a “reduced mode of being”. The results of this study showed that there is a high possibility that a conflict will be generated as consequence of this marginalization. If the government of Colombia continues fostering mining as an engine of development, it needs to recognize that mining will affect the social and cultural structure of the local communities, and include these impacts in the decision-making processes. The participation of the local community in planning will be important to reduce tension and to create process more accountable for the community. (Less)
Abstract (Spanish)
El gobierno de Colombia persigue una trayectoria de desarrollo extractiva en la que la minería es considerada como un factor clave para revivir la economía. Sin embargo, aunque la minería ha sido importante en el desarrollo económico de algunos países, también ha sido asociada con conflictos, producto de su alto impacto ambiental y, en muchos casos, la distribución inequitativa de beneficios. “La Colosa” es un proyecto de minería a cielo abierto propuesto en Cajamarca, Colombia el cual ha sido altamente cuestionado por los académicos, periodistas, comunidades y organizaciones ambientales debido a los posibles impactos que puede llegar a generar al medio ambiente. Sin embargo, las cuestiones sociales no han sido investigadas a fondo.... (More)
El gobierno de Colombia persigue una trayectoria de desarrollo extractiva en la que la minería es considerada como un factor clave para revivir la economía. Sin embargo, aunque la minería ha sido importante en el desarrollo económico de algunos países, también ha sido asociada con conflictos, producto de su alto impacto ambiental y, en muchos casos, la distribución inequitativa de beneficios. “La Colosa” es un proyecto de minería a cielo abierto propuesto en Cajamarca, Colombia el cual ha sido altamente cuestionado por los académicos, periodistas, comunidades y organizaciones ambientales debido a los posibles impactos que puede llegar a generar al medio ambiente. Sin embargo, las cuestiones sociales no han sido investigadas a fondo. Proyectos de la magnitud de “La Colosa” son conocidos por generar expectativa en la población local en donde son desarrollados, puesto que pueden crear trabajo y mejorar la infraestructura del lugar. No obstante, si no se cumplen las expectativas sobre los beneficios de la minería, esto puede dar lugar al crecimiento de malentendidos y desconfianza, y eventualmente puede crear conflictos entre los residentes locales y la empresa minera. El estudio de la relación que la compañía encargada del proyecto tiene con la comunidad ayuda a entender los intereses y necesidades de ambos actores, lo que a su vez ayuda a aliviar las tensiones entre ellos. En este estudio he analizado la naturaleza de la relación estudiante-empresa, puesto que los estudiantes son los futuros tomadores de decisiones y ciudadanos del mundo. Analicé esta relación a través de la comprensión del contexto socioeconómico y cultural en que se desarrolla. Esta relación reveló que los estudiantes están siendo marginados de diferentes maneras. En primer lugar, los estudiantes no tienen acceso a información objetiva, en segundo lugar, sus valores culturales no son considerados, en tercer lugar ellos son excluidos de la toma de decisiones acerca de la extracción de oro en Cajamarca y finalmente están siendo forzados a un “reducido modo de ser”. Los resultados de este estudio mostraron que hay una alta posibilidad de que se genere un conflicto como consecuencia de esta marginalización. Si el gobierno de Colombia continúa fomentando la minería como motor de desarrollo, se debe reconocer que la minería afectará la estructura social y cultural de las comunidades locales, e incluir estos impactos en los procesos de toma de decisiones. La participación de la comunidad local en la planificación será importante para reducir la tensión y crear procesos más responsables con la comunidad. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Noreña Ramirez, Diana LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
La Colosa, Cajamarca, Colombia, gold mining, environmental justice, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:024
funder
Svenska Institutet
language
English
id
5473879
date added to LUP
2015-06-18 11:58:24
date last changed
2015-06-18 11:58:24
@misc{5473879,
  abstract     = {Colombian government pursues an extractive-led development trajectory in which mining is considered as a key factor for reviving the economy. However, while mining has been important in the economic development of some countries, it has also been associated to conflicts, product of its high environmental impact and, in many cases, unequal distribution of benefits. “La Colosa” is a gold open pit mine project proposed in Cajamarca, Colombia which has being highly questioned by scholars, journalists, communities and environmental organizations due to the possible impacts that it can have on the environment. However, social issues have not been thoroughly investigated. Projects of the magnitude of “La Colosa” are known to generate hope to the local population where they are developed, as they can create jobs and improve the infrastructure of the place. Nevertheless, if the expectations about the benefits of mining are not fulfilled, this can lead to growing misunderstandings, mistrust and eventually conflict among local residents and the mining company. Studying the relationship that the company in charge of the project has with the community helps to understand both actors’ interests and needs, which at the same time helps to ameliorate tensions among them. In this study I analyzed the nature of the Student-Company relation, as students are the future decision makers and citizens of the world. I analyzed this relationship through the understanding of the socio-economic and cultural context in which it is developed. This relationship revealed that students are being marginalized in different ways. First of all, students do not have access to objective information, second, their cultural values are not considered, third they are excluded from the decision-making about the extraction of gold in Cajamarca and finally they are being forced into a “reduced mode of being”. The results of this study showed that there is a high possibility that a conflict will be generated as consequence of this marginalization. If the government of Colombia continues fostering mining as an engine of development, it needs to recognize that mining will affect the social and cultural structure of the local communities, and include these impacts in the decision-making processes. The participation of the local community in planning will be important to reduce tension and to create process more accountable for the community.},
  author       = {Noreña Ramirez, Diana},
  keyword      = {La Colosa,Cajamarca,Colombia,gold mining,environmental justice,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Undermining environmental justice? : community-company conflicts with La Colosa gold mine in Cajamarca, Colombia},
  year         = {2015},
}