29 NOVEMBER 2018
The agreement establishes how we will work together
Our Cerro Matoso operation and seven communities from the local area have signed a cooperation agreement which establishes how they will work together in the future.
The agreement was signed at an event called 'Social Dialogue: Reaffirming Commitment to the Region's Social and Sustainable Development.'
It advocates for open and transparent communication and collaboration around Cerro Matoso's environmental licence and community investment program.
"South32 will execute these agreements together with the Community Council of Black Communities and the community action boards so that they also can participate in the Environmental Impact Study," explained Cerro Matoso VP Operations and Country Manager Ricardo Gaviria.
"We want to involve them in this process and we are very pleased because about two thousand people from these population centres will benefit."
The agreement involves the Community Council of Black Communities from Boca de Uré and the Community Action Boards from Centro America, La Odisea, Torno Rojo, La Estrella, Boca de Uré, and Puerto Colombia. The amount agreed on to execute the cooperation agreement is $434,000,000 Colombian pesos, divided among the participating community organisations.
"The agreement amount will be delivered by Cerro Matoso to the Community Council and the community action boards so they can manage the resources autonomously and independently," Ricardo said.
Local community leaders signed the agreement and highlighted how important this process is for strengthening knowledge of the region and the relationship between the communities and the company.
"We value Cerro Matoso's backing for the communities," said Mónica Oyola Pérez, from Centro America.
"In recent years, thanks to dialogue, we have developed a level of trust that allows us to sit down and negotiate to reach agreements and execute them. This backing from the mining company for the Community Action Boards has been essential for empowering our development. This study will be very beneficial on every level. It will bring jobs, resources, and updated information and knowledge of the region's reality."
Manuel Taborda, from the Community Council of Black Communities from Boca de Uré, said: "this is an important step for strengthening the ethnic organisation and will bring important input for when consultation begins with our Afro community."
During the signing of the cooperation agreement, Afro descendent folklore groups and a group called Semillas Vallentas performed. The group's training takes place through the cultural strengthening project led by Cerro Matoso in the region of Alto San Jorge.