Colombian court bans mining, oil projects in fragile moorlands

by Reuters
Tuesday, 9 February 2016 13:45 GMT

An aerial view shows ecological damage caused by illegal gold mining in a rural area of Santander de Quilichao, in the department of Cauca, Feb. 13, 2015. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

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Court says mining and oil production in moorlands could do irreversible damage to fragile ecosystems

BOGOTA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Colombia's constitutional court has banned mining and oil projects in the country's ecologically delicate moorlands, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The decision, which came late on Monday, overturns a previous ruling that said mining companies with older titles to moorland areas could continue operating until their leases expired.

This week's decision could void up to 350 mining permits.

The court said mining and oil production in moorlands could do irreversible damage to fragile ecosystems.

Moorlands in the country, usually home to low vegetation, are typically found between 3,000 and 5,000 meters (9,843 to 16,404 feet) above sea level.

Last year the court declared some 1.66 million hectares (4.1 million acres) of forest, grassland and jungle to be off limits to mining projects.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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Colombian court bans mining, oil projects in fragile moorlands

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