Mining - Colombia

Official: Local mining industry to be among biggest in region by 2019

Official: Local mining industry to be among biggest in region by 2019

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Colombia aims to become one of the most important mining countries in Latin America by 2019, according to Beatriz Duque, mines director for Colombia's mines and energy ministry.

While Colombia must keep promoting production of coal, its main mining export, it also needs to emphasize precious and base metals mining, attract investment in exploration and strengthen mining institutionalism, Duque told BNamericas on the sidelines of the X Expomin International Congress in Santiago, Chile.

"We're in the process of looking at the projections of our neighbors, who are leaders in mining, in order to see where we'll place among the most important mining nations," Duque said.

According to the ministry official, Colombia boasts the legal framework and stability, macroeconomic conditions and tax conditions necessary to support a mining industry, while security has improved dramatically over the last few years.

"The conditions are there [for mining], what we have to do now, is to make these conditions visible in the international context, so that investors understand that our country is ready to receive investments and moreover, considering that our territory is underexplored, it is a much more valuable opportunity than even our Latin American neighbors."

Colombian metallic projects include Toronto-based Colombia Goldfields' (TSX: GOL, OTC BB: CGDF) Marmato Mountain and Vancouver-based Greystar Resources (TSX, AIM: GSL) Angostura gold project.

Significant coal operations include the Cerrejón mine, owned in equal parts by BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata, plus US-based Drummond's La Loma mine and a number of projects.