South32 ordered to pay damages to Colombia community, miner to appeal

11th April 2018 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Diversified miner South32 on Wednesday said that it would appeal a decision by the Constitutional Court of Colombia in relation to alleged health and environmental impacts on the community surrounding its Cerro Matoso nickel operation.

The Constitutional Court found that waste from the Cerro Matoso operation has led to health problems in the local community, and given orders that South32 was to pay damages to the community and provide health care to locals.

The court also ordered South32 to apply for a new licence to operate, following a period of consultation with the local communities.

South32 told shareholders that it was not possible to fully assess any potential financial and operational impacts, as the decision ordered various compensatory and remedial activities, which were not yet quantifiable.

“Our work is continuing to understand the impact of the decision and we will advise of any material developments,” the company said.

Cerro Matoso delivered 36 500 t of nickel in 2017, and is expected to produce 41 600 t in 2018.