Cañaverales Mine

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This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Cañaverales Mine is a proposed coal mine in La Guajira, Colombia.[1]


The map below shows the approximate location of the Cañaverales Mine in San Juan del Cesar, La Guajira, Colombia. The proposed Cañaverales mine is very close to the urban area of ​​the town of Cañaverales, making it the subject of much controversy.[1]

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Initially, the coal mine was proposed by MPX Colombia, a subsidiary of MPX Energia SA which in turn was a subsidiary of the diversified EBX Group.[2][3] The business plan called for 3 open-cast mines, in Cañaverales, Papayal and San Benito as well as an underground mine in San Juan. The plan stated that production would commence in 2012. A third-party surveyor identified 144 million tons of reserves and resources with potential for open-cast mining in the proposed areas.[2]

At this time, Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista was the owner of the project. However, after the Sept. 2016 purchase of the CCX coal mine project from the Brazilian EBX group, Yıldırım Group of Turkey rebranded the project under the company name "The Best Coal Company."[4] The Yildirim Group of Companies 2016 Annual Report stated intentions to make Cañaverales operational by 2018.[4]

In September 2017, Colombia's national environmental authority ANLA revoked the original environmental permit for the Cañaverales project[5], which had been granted to MPX Colombia in June 2011.[6] Best Coal Company subsequently petitioned for a reversal of ANLA's decision, but the appeal was rejected in June 2018.[7] Nonetheless, an August 2018 asset report still estimated that the mine would begin operations in 2021.[8]

In its 2019 annual report, Yıldırım Group continued to identify the Cañaverales mine as its "most probable production project" in Colombia. The report stated that "EIA studies have concluded," "the informing of ethnic groups that are recognized by the Interior Ministry as the project stakeholders is finalized," and "the Cañaverales project will be ready for stripping in mid-2020 and then for coal production."[9]

Conflict with The Local Community

In 2011, residents of Cañaverales expressed concern over the proximity of the mine to their town. Exploration work was carried out within a half-mile (800 meters) of the town.[1] According to a local news report, the mine site overlapped with a cemetery and threatened a limited water supply.[10]

As of 2019, local opposition to the mine remained strong, with residents asserting their rights to water, food, health, work, and participation in decisions affecting the natural environment. Community members voiced particular concern that the 30-year Cañaverales project would permanently damage the Cañaverales natural spring, which is currently protected within a nearby forest reserve.[11][12]

Project Details

  • Owner: The Best Coal Company[4]
  • Parent company: Yıldırım Group[4]
  • Location: Outside of Cañaverales, San Juan del Cesar, La Guajira, Colombia
  • GPS coordinates: 10.7592558,-72.8490768 (approximate)
  • Mine status: Proposed
  • Start year: 2021 (predicted)[8]
  • Mineable reserves: 26.7 million tons[9]
  • Coal type:
  • Mine size:
  • Mine type: Surface[2]
  • Production: 2.5 million tons[13]
  • Additional proposed production: The 2010 business plan mentions an expansion of the Northern and Eastern mining limits.[2]
  • Equipment:
  • Number of employees:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Environmental Justice Atlas Cañaverales, La Guajira, Colombia database, updated April 8, 2014, accessed Nov, 4 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 MPX ENERGIA S.A. MPX Releases MPX Colombia's Business Plan With 1.74 Billion in Potential Coal Resources and a 20 Mty Integrated Mining System, March 6, 2010
  3. MPX "MPX Portfolio", MPX website, accessed February 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Yildirim Group of Companies 2017 Goals and Expectations 2016 Annual Report, accessed Nov. 4, 2019
  5. "RESOLUCIÓN N° 01073" (PDF). ANLA. September 5, 2017.
  7. "RESOLUCIÓN N°00837" (PDF). ANLA. June 5, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wood Mackenzie Canaverales coal mine summary of asset report, August 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 "2019 Annual Report" (PDF). Yildirim Group of Companies. January 2020.
  10. NoticiasUnoColombia Explotación a la biodiversidad Youtube, Oct. 2, 2011
  11. "Pobladores de Cañaverales no quieren explotación de carbón en su territorio | La Guajira". La Guajira Hoy. March 25, 2019.
  12. "Cañaverales dice NO a otra explotación de carbón a cielo abierto en La Guajira". CENSAT - Agua Viva - Amigos de la Tierra (in español). Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  13. Enrique Saez Translation: The sale of CCX assets in Colombia does not prosper, Original: No prospera la venta de activos de CCX en Colombia minería pan-americana, Oct 6, 2014

Related articles

External resources

External articles

Colombia and coal