Mining and quarrying in Colombia
Lead NCPAustralia
Supporting NCP(s)Switzerland, United Kingdom
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by an individual regarding the activities of BHP-Billiton operating in Colombia.
Theme(s)Disclosure, Environment, General policies
Date2 Jul 2007
Host country(ies)Colombia
Industry sectorMining and quarrying

Read the public statement issued by the Australian NCP regarding this specific instance - 12 June 2009

Read the closing statement issued by the Swiss NCP regarding this specific instance - 15 July 2009

In July 2007, the Australian NCP received a request for review from an individual acting as an agent for parties in Colombia alleging that BHP-Billiton’s involvement in the Cerrejon Coal Company (Cerrejon) had breached the general policies, disclosure and environment provisions of the Guidelines, specifically with regard to their treatment of a local community in the town of Tobaco.

The submission also involved companies in the UK and Switzerland and, during a meeting of representatives of all involved parties, it was decided that the Australian NCP would take the lead in consultation with the other two NCPs. During this meeting the companies advised that an independent social review had already been established by Cerrejon to provide an independent assessment of their social engagement and all parties agreed to suspend the current complaint pending the outcome of this review.

Released in February 2008, the review made numerous recommendations on steps Cerrejon should take to improve its relationships with the local community and to resolve the underlying issues. An agreement was reached between the parties clearing the way for sustainable development.

The specific instance concerned communities, in addition to Tobaco, which were affected by Cerrejon's activities and negotiations for possible resettlement of these communities were ongoing at the time of the conclusion of this specific instance.