The fact that Colombia has indigenous and afro-descendant communities situated in the rural areas and that they are depending on small scale mining, made Colombia to be a country of strong mining tradition. Know that the mining industry in Colombia goes from the simple stone and gravel extraction, to coal, emerald, nickel and gold sophisticated activities. The mining industry of Colombia has ranked as one of the most important producers of nickel in South America and of coal in Latin America because of the 211 minerals being extracted throughout their national territory, plus it is claimed to be the second largest producer of emeralds all over the globe. Unfortunately, a rough period is being experienced by the mining industry in Colombia brought about by various judicial and administrative decisions, thereby creating a legal environment of instability and uncertainty for foreign investment. Those foreign companies then who are affected with these various decisions, would resort to filing of lawsuits against the state.
In 2016, the National Mining Agency claimed that Colombia produced tons of coal at around 90.511 million tons, coming mostly from Cesar, Guajira, Cundinamarca, Boyaca and Norte de Santander. There is then an established record figure in coal production for this country considering the amount represents 5.8 percent recovery as compared to last year.
In Colombia, mining is developed in various levels, with standards in production and environmental management differing. Note that the small scale mining for example, is still the largest when you talk of production units, even if it is lacking still in its overall performance, it gives impact to employment generation and in adding value to the minerals extracted where capacity is concern. Where medium scale production is concern, they have a higher knowledge regarding resources and reserves, in planning strategies, and in their compliance with labor and health and safety standards, they are still belong to a higher level. In the case of large scale projects, these are performed under the highest technical knowhow, economic, environmental and social conditions, all of which are important for the country’s economy, aside from a labor generating industry, and giving impact too on social and regional aspects.
Know also that Colombia has a regulatory framework for its mining that composes different regulations corresponding to the various categories, from constitutional to technical norms, and these regulate the operations of day to day mining activities.
Colombia’s mining regulations follow the principle that, whatever are the grandfathered rights, both subsoil and all mineral resources located within, are owned by the state, and thus can be exploited with an authorization beforehand through an issued mining title of authorities.