© Harbi Guerrero
Last year, The Association for Responsible Mining and Fair Trade in Southwest Colombia (ASOMIRCOL) and The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) carried out an assessment and designed a strategic plan to formalize and Fairtrade and Fairmined certify three mining organizations in Nariño. The project was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Training was conducted in hiring workers, making social security payments and implementing the plan for occupational health and industrial safety. Specific support to producers was also given – today there are many miners who have signaled their mines and have first aid kits which were brought to the miners of the three participating municipalities. Especially successful were the exchanges of experiences between miners from the different municipalities.
Overall, the results have been very successful: today it has made progress in social security coverage for miners in the town of la Llanada, where one hundred (100) miners the COODMILLA Cooperative of LÑa Llanada, began payment of social security, joining the 50 miners who already did so in a cooperative of 168 members. A similar situation occurred in Los Andes, with 9 workers’ affiliation in social security. These workers make up the staff of the San Roque mine owned by Roman and Antonio Bacca and it is the first mine in the municipality to affiliate its workers in Social Security.
As a result of seeing the positive organizational experience of La Llanada during the exchange of miners, the participants from la Mallama decided to form the Association of Indigenous Miners of la Mallama and associate themselves formally withASOMIRCOL.
There have also been made significant technical advances. The miners in la Llanada are making important investments in equipment to improve their production systems, and experienced staff from the Cumbitara Municipality has come to La Llanada to share their experiences in railway works inside mine tunnels.
Another positive product of all these activities has been the new role that ASOMIRCOL has earned. It is now the leading organization in Nariño to promote the transformation of mining, and the entity responsible for bringing important debates on issues of small scale mining in Colombia to the table at the national level.
We thank CIDA and the Embassy of Canada for supporting the project, and congratulate all the miners, especially the president of ASOMIRCOL, Harbi Guerrero, whose efforts and actions have made this achievement possible and fruitful.