EL CERREJÓN — The largest open pit coal mine in the world lies in Colombia. Health damage caused both to its workers and the communities – silicosis disease among them – is peremptory and alarming.

Mineral coal is one of the main sources of energy in the world and the main cause of global warming due to the gases emitted during its combustion. The balance is not easy between Colombia, the largest coal producer in Latin America, and Germany, the largest coal consumer in the EU. 

For several decades, the Colombian State, informally and manipulating the law, has ceded to international industrial conglomerates, Swiss giant Glencore among them, the territories which belong to indigenous communities. Essentially, it offers the possibility of exploiting natural resources with the minimum demands for environmental care and/or protection of human health. 

In both Germany and Colombia, coal mining plays a significant economic role as it is an important source of wealth, but it is also the cause of the destruction of communities and natural spaces and the displacement and persecution of thousands of people.

But this situation affects respective countries in a very unequal way.

Team members

Rocio Periago

Rocío Periago is a freelance journalist based in Spain.

G Jaramillo Rojas

G Jaramillo Rojas is a Colombian journalist and sociologist.

Giovanny Jaramillo Rojas

Anita Pouchard Serra

Anita Pouchard Serra is a French-Argentinian photojournalist & visual storyteller, based in Buenos Aires.

Anita Pouchard Serra

Eliezer Budasoff

Eliezer Budasoff is an award-winning Argentine-born journalist and editor.

Eliezer Budasoff

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