- Thanks to the partnership between the UNDP planetGOLD Colombia, its partners and CFA Cooperativa Financiera, 27 loans have been granted to small-scale and subsistence mining communities in Antioquia and Sur de Bolívar, worth a total of 830 million pesos.
- Of all 27 loans delivered, 17 were aimed at subsistence miners and 10 at Mining Production Units (UPM in Spanish).
- A symbolic act - attended by partner organizations, beneficiaries and local entities – was held to highlight the processes carried out in the financial inclusion strategy of the planetGOLD Colombia project, from a gender perspective.
At an in-person event, with the participation of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Secretariat of Mines of Antioquia, CFA Cooperativa Financiera and strategic partners in the sector; a symbolic ceremony was held for the delivery of 6 of the 27 loans disbursed to date, totaling nearly 830 million pesos, for miners from Antioquia and Sur de Bolívar.
This partnership is important because it allows the communities to take ownership of the tools that promote economic growth among their families and the territories that they influence - Jorge Corrales, Director of CFA Cooperativa:
"Since the partnership began in November 2021, the CFA has taken on enormous challenges to continue to pursue its purpose of expanding and developing the cooperative model fully, as an economic and social alternative," said Corrales.
These measures are part of the financial inclusion strategy of the UNDP planetGOLD Colombia project, which supports the commitment of the National and Departmental Government to: closing gaps related to economic inequality for subsistence miners, as stated by the Secretary of Mines of Antioquia, Jorge Jaramillo. These sentiments are shared by Johana Rocha, Director of Mining Formalization, who added that spaces like these, help to facilitate and improve the development of mining and promote the improvement of the communities' social fabric, alongside the National Policy on Subsistence Mining of the Government of Colombia.
The delivery of these loans fulfils the goals set out in the financial inclusion strategy, and acts as a mechanism that contributes to the reduction of the use of mercury, this is because the resources provided, help miners to act legally, formally and engage in environmentally responsible practices, as stated by Liliana Alvarado, National Head of the planetGOLD Colombia project.
"The planetGOLD Colombia project has not been working alone. We have been creating some very important partnerships in the territory, which is something we have partially been able to see today. What could be better than seeing these results materialize in the form of smiles on the miners' faces?" - Alvarado.
During the ceremony, the beneficiaries expressed that these actions had helped to strengthen their mining practices, and provided support to their farming or commercial start-ups, as alternatives to the artisanal extraction and selection of valuable minerals. Likewise, the Mining Production Units (UPM) expressed that these loans had allowed them to reinforce their tools and technologies, thus fostering the production of mercury-free gold.
“I would like to thank CFA Cooperativa Financiera and the UNDP Colombia, for the great support they have provided throughout. They have accompanied us in the training sessions and they have been there for us. As an organization, we want to thank them for allowing us to grow as a group. It has been difficult, because we are mothers and heads of the household, or most of us are, and they have put their trust in us. Thanks to the UNDP and CFA we have become empowered miners and jewelers”, - Neyla.
What does the financial inclusion strategy involve?
Since November 2021, planetGOLD Colombia entered into a partnership with CFA Cooperativa Financiera, and together, they implemented one of the two financial mechanisms that enable mining communities to access financial services and products in the country.
Through it, the project has accessed priority areas by means of different initiatives, such as the Women in Mining Network, which is made up of 17 nodes in Antioquia, Cauca and Sur de Bolívar, and comprised of over 240 women miners that serve to provide financial education tools with a gender component, and access to economic opportunities that support the development of local economies.
In coordination with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and hand in hand with CFA Cooperativa Financiera , the project expects to reach its goal of granting 50 loans by the end of the project in 2023, of which more than 20% must be destined to women miners. This would guarantee the differential approach, with the aim of ensuring that these communities: avoid the use of pollutants; have access to technologies; improve their practices and contribute to a Mercury-Free Colombia.
- The planetGOLD project is an initiative that was funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF), which has impacted 2,100 women and men miners to date, in the territories of Antioquia, Cauca and Sur de Bolívar, with the aim of avoiding the use of twenty tons of mercury.
- Within the framework of this partnership, CFA Cooperativa Financiera has implemented action beyond the zones of Antioquia, including interventions in Sur de Bolívar, and more recently the development of a branch in Santander de Quilichao, that provides assistance to mining communities in the regions of Norte del Cauca.
By publishing Resolution 40217 of 2022, the Ministry of Mines and Energy adopted the regulatory framework for the National Policy on Subsistence Mining, establishing a search for mechanisms that act as incentives that promote the social and economic development of the communities working in traditional mining.
For more information, please watch the following video.