Anglo American is one of the largest mining companies in the world, and joint-owner of the largest – and most infamous – open-pit coal mine in existence: El Cerrejón, in Colombia. In spite of the history of violence, pollution and misery created by coal extraction in the region, Anglo American has been planning to expand the mine’s operations.
In Tobacco, a village in La Guajira, north-east Colombia, residents will long remember the 9 August, 2001. It was the day they were forcibly expelled from their homes to make way for the expansion of the El Cerrejón mine. When the last inhabitant was removed, the village was completely destroyed. Such are the hidden costs of El Cerrejón’s gradual expansion, a mine that today extends over 69,000 hectares – more than half of the surface area of Paris.