A brief history of La Coqueta

The mining organization La Coqueta is located in Rio Blanco, a township of the municipality of Manizales – Colombia. The mine is located at an elevation of approximately 2,650 meters above sea level, in a temperate humid climate zone that has an annual average temperature of 15° C.

The topography of the project area is affected by the lithology, composed mainly of rocks that undergo contact metamorphism, which generates considerable changes in the slope gradients, forming irregular, deep and narrow valleys. The surrounding area is diverse and rich in flora and fauna, forming a magnificent ecosystem.

La Coqueta gold reef mine has been in operation for approximately 70 years. Over time the mining methods have evolved, bringing about improved techniques and increased efficiency for the mine’s growth process.

Maltería, a rural district with a population of 600 inhabitants, is the closest community. The economy is predominantly industrial, with many companies representing sectors that range from construction supplies (plastic, clay tiles, etc.) to coffee cultivation. Another prominent economic sector is the livestock and dairy industry. All of the workers live in nearby communities.

The path to Fairmined Certification

The La Coqueta mining organization began the process to obtain Fairmined Certification with a great head start, in terms of technological and organizational progress. This was thanks in part to the formalization processes that it had been carrying out for several years prior with government institutions at the local and national level. Above all, it was due to the financial and physical efforts made by the organization and the miners’ commitment to be responsible. Some highlighted achievements during the process were drawing up written contracts for workers, undergoing training, organizing a system for storage of supplies, and gaining opportunities to access new markets.

An example of responsible mining

The La Coqueta mine works every day on improving their management of environmental resources. By holding awareness-raising trainings and workshops on environmental protection and resource preservation, the organization instills in the workers the values and attitudes needed to resolve and mitigate any environmental issues. Significant progress has been made on the following environmental topics: elimination of mercury use in gold processing; implementation of new, modern milling mechanisms; and improvement of solid and sterile waste management.

Type of Mining Operation

The La Coqueta mine has an underground extraction method. It consists of a guide or main level that follows the course of the vein, and where it dips further exploration begins through inclined shafts either in a descending (winze) or ascending (raise) manner.