Colombia has a growing mining sector and considerable mineral wealth, with many areas of the country not yet explored. The industry plays a key role in the country’s economy and efforts have been made in recent years to attract increased foreign investment. Information from Colombia’s National Mining Agency (ANM) states that natural resources made up 22% of the country’s total exports in the first half of 2021. Traditionally, coal has been the primary export and remains so at the present time – representing more than 50% of mining exports and being the largest GDP contributor of all minerals. This is closely followed by gold, though ferronickel, emeralds, iron, nickel, salt, platinum and silver are also being produced.
Mining companies in the region have experienced complications in the past with social, community and environmental challenges, with citizens utilising consultation rights to hold referendums which seek to block mining projects and prevent them from progressing. The right of consultation stems from the country’s constitution, however recent court decisions have ruled that local communities do not have a veto power over mining projects. Prior to the 2022 election, the government had also been keen to develop the sector, benefit from the green energy transition and position Colombia as an attractive option in Latin America. However, it seems likely that such sentiments may change given the outcome of the election.
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