The Christian Science Monitor

In post-conflict Colombia, land-rights and funding for peacebuilding face off

Herver Oliveraula works on his farm Oct. 26, 2017, with the town of Cajamarca visible below. Mr. Oliveraula hopes the government will honor the March 2017 vote his community held, ordering a halt to mining in the municipality. Source: Taran Volckhausen

When South African mining company AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) arrived in this central Colombian farming town ten years ago, it promised residents like Herver Oliveraula “rivers of milk and honey,” he recalls. The mining giant was set to extract an estimated 28 million ounces of gold from the La Colosa mine, buried under the northern Andes.

Mr. Oliveraula was skeptical, he says, but also wanted to trust that his community – and country – could benefit from the natural resources underfoot. It wasn’t until activists from the youth collective Cosajuca in 2012 showed him a geological map of his town that he changed his mind. It laid out mining concessions from the government, granting AGA rights to explore in nearly 80 percent of the municipality – including Oliveraula’s 6-hectare farm.

“How could some government [ministry] grant

The 'reality'What does 'the country need?'

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