March 27, 2020.


As of the end of January, Cerrejón has been taking preventive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19 among its workers and their families, the mining operation’s neighbouring communities, Puerto Bolívar and the population in general, following recommendations from the authorities and the prevention and health safety services.

On March 24, by means of Decree 457 of 2020, the Colombian government established a 15-day national quarantine to fulfil the mandatory precautionary confinement of all the inhabitants in Colombia. The decree establishes a series of exceptions for the activities that may continue, with mining being one of them. However, Cerrejón has made the decision to send 80% of its operation’s staff on fully paid vacations, and with the contractors who accepted Cerrejón’s recommendation to do the same with their employees this comes to around 8,000 workers. Currently, essential services are being maintained to ensure the safety of individuals and the operation, compliance with environmental regulations and to carry out tasks in progress in order to meet contractual commitments.

We have been implementing measures to prevent infections, and these have been continually adapted as the situation evolves and based on indications from the health authorities. The first measures, at the end of January, consisted in protocols to control the arrival of ships to Puerto Bolívar, restriction of visits, telecommuting for employees who have the ability to do so, limiting meetings and relations with the communities, limiting trips abroad, and instructions to our staff and contractors on how to avoid contagion.

To date, not one case related to COVID-19 has been detected in La Guajira, and the regional and local authorities are taking preventive measures that Cerrejón is scrupulously fulfilling.

In addition, along with this front to avoid contagion, specific measures are being taken in regard to the communities:

  • Commitment to social investment remains in place, as well as the supply of around seven million litres of water per month to 155 communities, including the resettlements that receive drinking water.
  • Actions will be coordinated with the department and city halls in the areas of influence to provide specific support on health issues for the amount of 2,000 million pesos (approximately 475,500 US dollars).
  • Donation of 15,000 face masks, available from Cerrejón´s inventory of personal protective equipment.
  • Development of prevention and healthcare campaigns, using graphic elements and radio clips in Wayunaiki so the neighbouring communities can have access to educational material on how to prevent Coronavirus.
  • To date, we are coordinating other types of logistical support with departmental and national authorities in order to provide assistance to the communities.

The decision to restart activities will be done once safety procedures are guaranteed. To do this, we expect to receive support from national, regional and local authorities, the trade unions and from all workers and contractors.

We will be reporting more information as it becomes available.