Stop the diversion of the Arroyo Bruno river

Support communities in La Guajira, Colombia, who are opposing the planned diversion of their river so that a locally-operated mine owned by Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore can extract coal from underneath it. The river is their lifeline.

The Cerrejón coal mine – owned by the multinationals Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore and run by a domestic operator - has received permission to divert the Arroyo Bruno river in order to extract 35 million tonnes of coal from underneath it.  

The river supplies water to the towns of Albania, Maicao and four Afro-descendent, indigenous and farming communities. Please support the community in opposing the mine’s destructive plans. See the full letter and Spanish version of the petition here

Call on the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, to stop the diversion of Arroyo Bruno. 

The El Cerrejón mine has displaced 15 whole communities and caused severe droughts. Global Witness/Rafael Rios

Background: protesting the Cerrejón mine

For 30 years, the people of La Guajira in northeast Colombia have suffered the destructive impact of Cerrejón, Latin America's largest open-cast coal mine. As the mine has expanded, it has displaced numerous communities from their lands. 

Jakeline Romero has risked her life in leading the Wayúu community to take a stand against the mine which they allege, has depleted and polluted the region’s water sources, resulting in severe droughts.

In 2014, she spoke out against plans to divert the Rancheria river, of which the Arroyo Bruno is a tributary – and threats and harassment against her and her family escalated*. Find out more about the growing global crisis affecting environmental activists

President Santos has asked Colombians to save water, due to the drought caused by El Niño. However, in La Guajira a person has to live with less than 1 litre of untreated water, while the mine uses more than 17 million litres daily. 

La Guajira le Habla al País (or ‘La Guajira, calling on the nation’), whose campaign we are honoured to support, formed in response to the impact of coal mining on community’s access to water and way of life. Find out more about their campaign 

*Cerrejón has condemned the threats suffered by Wayúu activists in La Guajira and stated they are committed to  exemplary ethical behaviour.

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