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Colombian town votes against gold mine, in vain
by Staff Writers
Bogota (AFP) March 27, 2017

The Colombian government on Monday shot down a small town's attempt to block a multinational mining company from opening a gold mine there, saying a residents' referendum held no legal weight.

Fearing water pollution and the destruction of local forests, some 6,000 residents of Cajamarca, in central Colombia, voted against the mine on Sunday, 98 percent to 1.2 percent.

But Mining Minister German Arce sought to send a reassuring message to the South Africa-based firm pursuing the project, AngloGold Ashanti.

"Exploration licenses retain their validity," he said in a radio interview.

The license has already been granted, and "the (courts) have been very precise about the fact that such (referendum) decisions do not apply retroactively," he said.

The minister also accused opponents of the mine of running a "disinformation" campaign, and downplayed the environmental risk.

"We're not talking about an open-air mine here. Nor are there a hundred rivers at risk," he said.

AngloGold Ashanti's project in the Tolima region is still in the exploratory phase.

The deposit could contain 28 million ounces of gold, according to initial estimates, which would be one of the biggest discoveries of the past decade.

The company said it was "respectful" of the referendum and would evaluate the result, "at the same time as we continue with the rigorous work required to build consensus around the creation of a modern and environmentally responsible mining industry in Colombia."



Florida eco-friendly town opens for business
Punta Gorda, United States (AFP) March 22, 2017
With a farm-to-table restaurant, driverless shuttles, homes built with the latest green techniques and a massive solar farm to offset energy use, Florida's first sustainable town is now open for business. The buzz about Babcock Ranch, an eco-friendly city of the future and the largest development of its kind in the United States, drew more than 15,000 people out this month for a peek. "W ... read more

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