The controversial Canadian gold mining company, Gran Colombia Gold, is suing Colombia for $700 million after various exploitation disputes arose. The company, which was registered formally on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is owned by Venezuelan and Colombian elites. It has been facing years of controversy largely, because of disagreements with local miners.
The CEO of the company, Lombardo Paredes, has even threatened to murder miners with death squads on several mines in Marmato, Remedious, and Segovia, after local miners fought for their mining rights and titles. The $700 million lawsuit will be in relation to the company’s plans in Marmato, where it plans to create an open-pit gold mine after destroying an entire mountain.
The company has been facing opposition to its plans by the locals for decades, and even suspended operations at the El Burro site, after they won approval through the Constitutional Court. The locals in Marmato were ecstatic that the court supported their right to live off the land, but it seems as if Gran Colombia Gold are going hard right now with their $700 million lawsuit.
The company plans to sue the state, for their failure to prevent ELN guerrillas from causing problems in their operations and failing to evict local miners. This lawsuit will not be the last one as strict environmental regulations and civilian resistance will end up causing numerous problems for multinational miners.
Colombia has a free trade agreement with Canada, in which there is an investor protection clause, which grants permission to multinationals for suing entire nations, if the state is unable to keep their promises. The main problem is that mining titles are being offered by administrations like candy, without considering the locals or the law.
It remains to see whether this aggressive lawsuit will be won in favor of the controversial gold mining company.