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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. Be aware that Colombian mining industry has both simple to sophisticated extraction, ranging from stone and gravel, to coal, emerald, nickel and gold. In totality, it is amazing to know that the mining industry in Colombia extracts about 211 minerals throughout their national territory, making them one of the most important producers of nickel in South America, of coal in Latin America, and becoming second largest producer in the world for emeralds. On the other hand, because of different judicial and administrative decisions, the mining industry of Colombia is undergoing a rough period, making foreign investments have an environment of legal instability and uncertainty. Those foreign companies then who are affected with these various decisions, would resort to filing of lawsuits against the state.
Colombia produced about 90.511 million tons of coal in 2016 according to the National Mining Agency, and these products came from the places of Guajira, Cesar, Cundinamarca, Boyaca and Norte de Santander. Compared to the past year, this figure shows a 5.8 percent recovery which is a record figure in coal production for this country.
In Colombia, mining is developed in various levels, with standards in production and environmental management differing. When it comes to production units, note that small scale mining in Colombia is the largest, and even if still in low par where overall performance is concern, still it gives a significant effect in terms of employment generation and in some instances, of the capacity to add value to the minerals extracted. Note that their medium scale production is also characterized by a higher level of knowledge in resources and reserves, how they plan their strategies, and they have a higher level of compliance where labor and mining health and safety standards are concern. 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.
Also, be aware that under the mining regulations of Colombia, the principle states and to be followed, that notwithstanding grandfathered rights, all mineral resources and subsoil in the area fall under the ownership of the state, and therefore, exploitation can only be done prior to an authorization in the form of a mining title that is issued by a reputable authority.