Colombia

Colombia is one of the world’s most important coal-mining nations.

Here is how we are contributing to the country - while supporting the goal of a lasting peace.

What do you do in Colombia?

We wholly own Prodeco – a mining group which produces and ships high-grade Colombian coal for worldwide export.

Prodeco’s assets include:

  • The Calenturitas and La Jagua open-pit mines in Cesar province
  • The port of Puerto Nuevo, where we have a world-class coal loading facility
  • A 39.76% stake in Fenoco, the owner of the rail concession that links our mines to the port.

 

We also have a one-third stake in the independently operated Cerrejón, one of the world’s largest open-cut thermal coal mines.

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How do you contribute to the Colombian economy?

Prodeco employs approximately 6,000 people directly and through contractors, in a country where it’s estimated that each job supports a further four.

In 2017, Prodeco’s total taxes and royalties paid to Colombia was USD219 million. The company also spent a further USD738 million buying local goods and services.

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How are you keeping your workers safe in Colombia?

Through our SafeWork programme, we are making our Colombian assets a safer place to work.

Prodeco has an industry-leading lost time injury rate (LTIFR) of 0.10 incidents per million hours worked (2017). 

Prodeco has won awards for its commitment to safety – such as the Cruz Esmeralda Medal of Merit for Excellence, the highest distinction that the Colombian Safety Council awards to companies for health and safety standards at work.

How are you supporting the Colombian peace process?

Since 1964, armed conflict in Colombia has resulted in the deaths of hundreds and thousands of people – mostly civilians – and displacements of many more. Extremist illegal groups have tormented the Cesar province – and many of our own employees have been victims of, or affected by, the violence.

In November 2016, a peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels marked a major step forward in resolving the conflict.

We support the goal of a lasting peace. For example:

How do your security arrangements recognise human rights?

Prodeco is committed to respecting human rights, as expressed in its Human Rights Policy; we operate according to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, including rigorous screening and training of security personnel.

Our private security contracted companies are required to operate consistently within the Voluntary Principles and to provide continuous training to its personnel.  We evaluate compliance of our contractors on a quarterly basis and undertake second party audits annually.

Prodeco has monthly meetings with the military to discuss any human rights-related issues and provide opportunity to discuss incidents. We are a participant in the Colombian National Human Rights and Private Companies action plan.

What else are you doing to protect human rights in Colombia?

In 2016, Prodeco completed a major human rights risk assessment – with support from Colombian NGO Fundación Ideas para la Paz.

This looked at a full range of human rights – and drew on the views of government officials, union leaders and local communities.

Prodeco will address the recommendations of the assessment.

What are you doing to resettle communities affected by mining?

In recent years we have worked on the resettlement of three communities near our Calenturitas coal mine in Colombia: Plan Bonito, El Hatillo and Boquerón.

When we resettle communities, we do so only as a measure of last resort – and comply with globally accepted guidelines, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) resettlement guidelines.

At Plan Bonito, the community has been resettled in line with IFC guidelines. From 2012 to the end of 2016, the community has seen lower poverty levels according to the multidimensional poverty index - the number of households in poverty fell from 19 to 8; the number at risk reduced from 11 to 6; and the number experiencing wellbeing rose from 66 to 84.

What do you think of calls to stop buying Colombian coal?

Some NGOs have called on energy companies to stop buying Colombian-produced coal, following the country’s history of armed conflict.

This would have a major impact on the people of Colombia, where the coal industry directly employs 89,000 people. In the Cesar province, 47% of GDP comes from the mining sector.

Without our contribution and that of other coal companies, in wages and payments to government, Colombia could face higher unemployment, poverty, and large-scale migration of its citizens.

These are the same factors that originally caused the armed conflict to begin.

How are you consulting with NGOs and citizens?

We have a transparent approach to our work on sustainable development.

For example, in April 2014, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg hosted a visit to ourColombian assets for Swiss residents and NGOs.