Voters in Colombia’s Tolima province have backed a proposal to ban mining projects in their municipality, a result that raises questions about the future of an AngloGold Ashanti gold exploration in the area.
South Africa’s AngloGold may not be permitted to extract gold at its flagship La Colosa mine – a $2 billion potential investment that could yield 28 million ounces of gold – after 98.8 percent voted against allowing mining in Sunday’s referendum.
AngloGold has been exploring at the site in central Colombia for more than a decade. Some 6,165 citizens backed the proposal, while 76 voted against, according to figures from the electoral authority.
Residents had previously expressed fears that extraction could damage ground water, but the company says the project will not affect the water supply.
“We regret that because of a badly laid-out debate about mining in Colombia, the country and the region are now at risk of not receiving the benefits of well-done and responsible mining,” AngloGold said in a statement on its website. “We will analyzed the consequences and the impact on the project.”
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