South32 invokes force majeure at Colombia ferro-nickel operation

14th December 2023 By: Bloomberg

South32 invokes force majeure at Colombia ferro-nickel operation

The Cerro Matoso operation in Colombia

South32 invoked force majeure at its Colombian nickel operations as community protesters block the movement of people and supplies to the giant open pit mine and smelter.

“This affects all our contractors, suppliers and, our course, our business with clients,” Ricardo Gaviria, who heads the Cerro Matoso operation, told W Radio on Wednesday.

Protests at one of the world’s top suppliers of ferro-nickel, used to make stainless steel, is the latest example of residents pushing for greater benefits from mining, part of the industry’s battle to attain and maintain social acceptance. At Cerro Matoso, members of two communities have blocked access roads since Sunday, with some protesters entering the site in the northern department of Cordoba.

While South32 can’t privilege one community over another regarding job opportunities, it’s always open to dialog, the Perth, Australia-based company said. Cerro Matoso employs about 2 000 people and is an engine of the local economy.

The force majeure clause removes liability for unforeseeable events that prevent firms from fulfilling contracts.