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Colombia preparing draft of new mining code

Bnamericas Published: Monday, October 24, 2022

Colombia’s government plans to submit the draft for the new mining code to congress next year.

Mines and energy minister Irene Vélez told newspaper El País that a key point of the reform will be facilitating small miners’ access to mining rights. The Gustavo Petro administration is advancing the regulations with a sense of urgency.

Vélez said the mining sector is in disorder because the code in force since 2001 ignores subsistence mining and provides more guarantees to large companies, so small miners were unable to formalize or access titles, which led to a proliferation of illegal mining.

Vélez added that the contamination of rivers with mercury from illegal gold mining is worrying, adding water quality in mining communities will be analyzed in collaboration with the health ministry.

A first diagnosis of the gold segment will be carried out during the rest of the year, and certain purchases emphasized.

“We believe that if we discriminate and buy gold without mercury more favorably, that regulates the market without the need for coercive action. We are already carrying out a pilot exercise in Caucasia to distinguish large miners from small ones,” said Vélez.

Last July, deputy environmental comptroller Gabriel Adolfo Jurado said about 85% of the gold Colombia exports comes from illegal mining.

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