In Colombia, AngloGold Ashanti is evolving the concept of mining as a tangible tool for social, environmental and economic development, with a ground-breaking plan to create – and integrate - a park and biodiversity centre into its Quebradona copper-gold project, in Colombia’s Antioquia province. This park has been designed to preserve the local environment in the area and to restore elements of the eco-system to their natural state.
This project is in line with AngloGold Ashanti’s ambition of reducing – and wherever possible offsetting – impacts on biodiversity. The initiative is intended to gradually facilitate the regeneration of more than 2,500 hectares of indigenous tropical dry forest and high mountain forest. The re-introduction of this flora will help regenerate the area’s unique ecosystem, which has been impacted by farming and other land uses. AngloGold Ashanti Colombia believes the Park, will incorporate a series of innovative architectural designs and has the potential to attract tourism to the area, complementing the development opportunities brought by the mine.
“Our environmental legacy will be to improve the connectivity of the region’s ecosystems, developing our project with cutting-edge technology and good global practice, that not only respects and protects biodiversity, but seeks to improve the natural capital of the region”, Felipe Márquez, Colombia AngloGold Ashanti Senior Vice President said.
The environmental impact assessment for our Quebradona copper/ gold mine development was submitted in November 2019. The development of the park is anticipated to take place in 2021 and, in a departure from traditional mine development models, will be integrated into the Quebradona project during construction. 1% of the project’s value needs to be invested in environmental improvement projects and through development of the park, we aim to promote conservation of the region’s water sources, fauna and flora. Extensive engagement with local communities took place in preparation of the plan, including Jerico, the nearest town to the proposed development site.
Colombia’s Ministry of Environment has declared tropical dry forests as ‘strategic ecosystems’ because of their role in conserving the biodiversity of plants and animals unique to the area. These forested areas have been steadily denuded from Colombia’s landscape amid a growing logging industry and increasing demand for agricultural and grazing land. Today, only 8% of the original land of tropical dry forest in Colombia remains, the tropical dry forest of southwest Antioquia, near Jericó, has practically disappeared. In studies conducted by an independent body, the Humboldt Institute, it has been found that these forests can provide an ecosystem capable of supporting more than 2,600 species of plants, 230 species of birds and 60 species of mammals.
The park will include a research centre that focuses on species indigenous to the area’s unique ecosystem. As it develops and integrates with the tropical dry forest of Jericó, the intention is to reconnect the biological corridor that once existed between a number of rivers and streams, allowing for the conservation and resurgence of species of plants and animals in the area.