Prodeco Supports the Colombian Peace Process
March 10, 2017. Prodeco Group supports the on-going peace process and welcomes the opportunity to play a role in delivering peace and stability throughout Colombia.
We are aware of increasing concerns about historical and current aggression across Colombia, including in the Cesar and Magdalena regions, where we have a presence. We condemn all threats and physical violence across Colombia, including that by illegal armed groups against civil society leaders, and extend our condolences to the victims and their families from all parts of civil society, including Human Rights Defenders and Trade Union leaders.
We seek to use our presence in Colombia to promote positive change and respect for human rights, and we are committed to working with civil society and local and national governments to uphold peace. Through our active dialogue with communities living around our operations, we are developing meaningful partnerships that support the transition to post-conflict in the Cesar and Magdalena regions.
Prodeco is proud of our long presence in Colombia. We substantially contribute to the Colombian society and economy and are committed to being a force for positive change. Today, we have around 6,400 employees and contractors, nearly all of whom are Colombian. The National Mining Agency estimates that each Colombian mining job supports a further six, meaning that the Prodeco Group is (indirectly) responsible for the creation of more than 38,000 work placements. Since 1995, our operations have contributed approximately US$1.8 billion in government revenues royalties and taxes and in 2016 we spent over US$600 million through local procurement.
The Colombian peace process has been ongoing for a number of years and has recently resulted in a signed agreement with the FARC. We are proud to be an active participant in the transformative processes taking place in the country. We are contributing to the peace framework in a number of ways, including territorial planning programs in Cesar that emphasis rural development.
In 1995, Glencore plc acquired the Prodeco Group. Operations were first established at the Calenturitas mine in 2004. Today, this mine provides over 2,600 jobs and produced 11.1mt of thermal coal in 2016. In 2016, the Calenturitas mine’s environmental management plan was approved by the National Environmental Licensing Agency following nearly 50 community consultations.
Between 2005 and 2008, we purchased and consolidated mining operations near La Jagua de Ibirico that last year produced 6.2mt and provided over 2,300 jobs.
In 2016, our fleet of 18 locomotives and 750 wagons transported in excess of 19.2mt via the Fenoco’s rail concession, in which we have a 39.76% interest. Our world-class, export port facility, Puerto Nuevo, operating in the municipality of Ciénaga, Magdalena, shipped over 20.2mt in 2016.
Since 2004, we have invested over US$2.3 billion in the development of our assets.
We enjoy a special relationship with our highly-skilled and productive workforce and fully support freedom of association. Over the last 18 months, we have successfully negotiated four union agreements and three non-union agreements without a single day lost to strike action.
Committed to safety
Our strongest commitment is to the health, safety and wellbeing of our workforce and surrounding communities. We believe all work-related injuries and illnesses are avoidable. With a lost time injury frequency rate of 0.06 per million man hours worked and a total recordable frequency rate of 1.0 per million man hours worked our safety performance is world class within the mining industry. For the past two years, all four of our operative divisions have been awarded the Colombian Safety Councils highest award, the Cruz Esmeralda Merit Medal, Excellence Category.
Working in partnership
Prodeco undertakes open, transparent and respectful dialogue with all our stakeholders. We take active steps to support our stakeholders’ understanding of the impacts of our operations and the mitigating activities we undertake to counter any negative effects.
Prodeco upholds and implements the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. All of our assets operate grievance mechanisms and all complaints are reviewed by senior management.
Through our social programs we deliver meaningful socio-economic development to communities living near to our operations. We recognize that education is an essential element for societal progression. Our quality-enhancement program, run in partnership with the Colombian Ministry of Education, Departamento de Prosperidad Social, the State agency responsible for social progress and Comfacesar, a local social advancement organization, is improving local public education. Today, the program supports 10 institutions, delivering benefits to over 20,000 students and 500 teachers and school officials.
Recognizing the need to counter unemployment, Prodeco together with the municipality of La Jagua de Ibirico and the Chamber of Commerce of Valledupar, have created C-EMPRENDE, a program that uses UNDP methodology to create entrepreneurial and employment opportunities. In the last year, C-EMPRENDE supported over 5,300 community members, trained 2,000 people, helped 448 people to find formal employment and supported the development of 259 business plans.
We are working with our local authorities to identify and develop economic opportunities that promote independence to the mining sector. This has included strengthening capacity within local institutions to better deliver Colombia’s New Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as providing technical support to municipal administrations to better identify, design and manage strategic projects that will deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and generate lasting benefits to local communities.