Scotland imports 75% of the coal burned in its coal-fired power stations, mostly from Colombia, Russia and South Africa. At Hunterston, the UK’s largest coal port on Scotland’s West Coast, huge 200 mega tonne tankers transport coal from Colombia’s open cast mines to the Clydeport facility. If Ayrshire Power and Peel get their way, soon a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston will be fed on this coal too. Making the links between communities affected by coal in Scotland and Colombia, these two events will feature a speaker involved in solidarity work with communities in Colombia driven off their land to make way for the mines.
Edinburgh, Sunday 25th April, 19:00-21:00, ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place
The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh and Coal Action Scotland present an evening of radical films centering around community resistance to new coal.
We will be featuring a guest speaker who has worked extensively in Columbia and will talk about her experiences visiting communities near the Cerrejon mine, her work with social organisations opposing another huge opencast coal mine in Catatumbo and the importance of international solidarity.
We will also be showing some films from the occupation and eviction of the Mainshill Solidarity Camp near Douglas, South Lanarkshire as well as some footage of indigenous resistance in Columbia.
We also hope to show some films from Australia if there is time.
West Kilbride, Wednesday 28th April, 19:30-21:30, West Kilbride Village Hall, Ayrshire
As part of Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston (CONCH) Campaign meeting
Impacts of coal mining in Colombia
Colombia is the fourth largest coal exporter in the world, mainly exporting to Europe and the USA from its ports on the Atlantic coast. Cerrejon is the largest opencast coal mine in Colombia and is owned by three British based multinationals. In 2008 it exported 31.2 million tonnes of coal to Europe and the USA. We know Drax buys Cerrejon coal, it is very likely that many other coal fired power stations also do.
Claire will talk about her experiences visiting communities near the Cerrejon mine, her work with social organisations opposing another huge opencast coal mine in Catatumbo and the importance of international solidarity.
Since the Cerrejón Mine opened in 1983, its operations and constant expansion have forcibly displaced many indigenous people and Afro-Colombian communities. Their situation is desperate. After the village of Tabaco was bulldozed in 2001 to make way for the mine, people are scared the same will happen to them. Many have been forced to sell their land for next to nothing while others continue to fight for a just and dignified collective resettlement. She wrote a piece called Entwined Communities which explores the shared history of UK pit mining communities and and rural Colombian agricultural communities as coal mining is dragged from one place and imposed on another, as part of “free” market neoliberal changes.
Claire works with young people in Catatumbo, a peasant farmer mountainous region of Colombia. Paramilitary violence forced 40,000 people to flee their farms and now nine mining companies have been granted mining rights to extract the huge coal reserves. Yet people are returning and reorganising and she will talk about the strategies of the social organisations to resist the opening of the coal mine and their vision to build themselves a Catatumbo that meets the needs of the people who live there and not the needs of transnational capital.information