Mining company and social actors of the territory: main players of the fifth forum “Let’s Speak Properly About Mining”

The “New schemes of cooperation and public-private alliances for modern mining” was the central topic addressed in the fifth edition of the Forum “Let’s Speak Properly about Mining”, organized by the Prodeco Group on November 15 in the city of Valledupar.

The event that aimed to highlight the strengths that result from establishing cooperating mechanisms between the different social actors as an engine for developing sustainable mining, had the participation of 140 attendants at the Hotel Sonesta and more than 350 persons connected via streaming through the Prodeco Group website.

During his intervention in the opening speech of the Forum, Mark McManus, Prodeco Group President, highlighted that the objective of this event continues to be the establishment of an instance to address important topics for the mining sector in a direct conversation with the Cesar community. “Our desire has been to demystify some of the preconceptions some people have regarding the mining activity and initiate multiple and sincere conversations that enables us to exchange points of view and achieve a better knowledge amongst all of Cesar’s actors. In other words, to pave a road of trust and build a common future that results in the welfare of the Department and its inhabitants” he expressed.

On the other hand, the Cesar Governor, Francisco Ovalle, highlighted the work that has been carried out with Prodeco in livelihood projects around the agricultural sector, thus contributing to the Department’s rural development agenda “We have seen that Prodeco is more proactive in trying to guarantee the rebirth of the agricultural sector in Cesar, in different areas”, said Ovalle.

The Governor spoke about the important role that mining still holds in Cesar, highlighting that his government has been able to work in an articulated manner with the different companies in the sector, through their social responsibility programs, to consolidate initiatives of great impact for the communities.

In a similar manner, Silvana Habib, President of the National Mining Agency – ANM (for its Spanish acronym) stressed that with the resources from royalties, the mining energy sector is a driver of the regional development, which translates in great projects and benefits. “Prodeco has been focusing its social plans and programs in the promotion of the development and the improvement of the quality of the lives of the communities in the area of influence of their mines”, she declared.

Regarding the theme of the Forum, Habib indicated that “obtaining successful and emblematic results from public private alliances, allows a tangible positioning of mining within the communities”; and that the role of the institution that she presides is precisely to promote the development of mining activities that are inclusive, competitive and responsible with the environment.

The main topics of the Forum

The agenda presented three panels in which a group of special guests discussed topics of interest for the auditorium, moderated by journalist Diana Calderón, Director of Information Services of Caracol Radio.

Cesar Beyond Coal

With the participation of Adriana Senior, CEO of Corporación Colombia Internacional; Ana María Palau, Findeter’s Planning Vice-President; Carlos Alberto González, Administrative Manager of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros; Yarcely Rangel, La Jagua de Ibirico Mayor; and Carlos Campo, Cesar’s Secretary of Agriculture, this panel presented the current condition of the Department’s economic activities, other than mining.

For example, it was indicated that of each 3 COP that are produced in Cesar, 1 COP comes from mining; therefore, it is necessary to think about planning the territory beyond the extractive industry when it stops occupying the first line in the generation of income. In this sense, the route that must be the focus for the regional economic growth was discussed, considering the market and the communities of the municipalities where the mining activity currently develops, emphasizing on agricultural projects.

Effective Ways of Compensating the Carbon Footprint: The REDD+ Experience

On April of 2018, the Prodeco Group became Colombia’s first private company to sign a multiannual agreement for the purchase of carbon certificates, thus supporting a program for the conservation of 700.000 hectares of natural forests in the Colombian Pacific Region, which is being implemented by 20 community associations represented by the NGO Fondo Acción, through the REDD+ project.

In this panel, Natalia Arango, Executive Director of the NGO Fondo Acción; Fabio Arjona, International Conservation Director; Sergio Petro, Socio-Environmental Manager of the Prodeco Group, and Hoovert Carabalí, Legal Advisor of the Community Council of the Black Community of La Plata Bahía Málaga, debated on how the carbon certificates market contributes to the compliance of the goals established by Colombia for the mitigation of climate change.

Thanks to their intervention the audience knew that in the country the size of the market for these bonus amounts 250 million dollars per year, and that there are mechanisms to distribute the benefits, which are agreed with the community and are verified by institutions that guarantee that all resources reach the different community organizations implementing these environmental and social initiatives.

At the end of the panel, there was a formal delivery of the first 40,000 carbon certificates that the Cocomasur Community Council sold to the Prodeco Group. These certificates contribute to the conservation of 13,465 hectares of primary forest, benefitting 480 families of the Colombian Pacific region.

Alliances to Strengthen Human Rights and the Consolidation of Territorial Peace

Moderated by Amaury Padilla, Director of the Cesar Development and Peace Program – PDPC (for its Spanish acronym), the closing panel had the participation of Sergio Guarín, Director of the Postconflict Area of the Ideas para la Paz Foundation; Martha Ruíz, commissioner for the Caribbean of the Truth Commission; Nicolás Gómez, Prodeco Group Sustainability Manager, and Rebeca Durán and Erasmo Villar, community leaders of La Victoria de San Isidro and Estados Unidos villages.

The panel members spoke about the construction of a joint vision between mining and the social actors of the territory, based on trust, dialogue and the work under alliances to achieve welfare within a framework of respect for human rights.

The Cesar community leaders shared their experiences in their joint work with Prodeco for the benefit of their families and neighbors, highlighting the creation of the Strategic Plan 2017 -2032 for La Victoria de San Isidro; as well as the entrepreneurial initiatives to reactive tourism in the Estados Unidos township and the events of honoring the victims of the conflict in the latter township

This panel concluded that only with strategic and bold proposals the private company is able to transcend the entrepreneurial responsibility to generate sustainable development and peace in the territories.


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