Colombia Mining IndustryIn terms of mineral production, Colombia rates among the top producer countries in the world, for its principal exports. The coal industry is now the fourth largest exporter in the world, with production of 72.3 million tonnes in 2009 (17% of Colombian exports). Nickel production was rated third in the world (51 thousand tonnes in 2009) while emerald production was number one (2.9 million carats in 2009). In addition, 2009 also saw the production of 47.8 tonnes of gold and 13.2 million tonnes of limestone for construction. Production has risen steadily, especially in coal, nickel and gold mining, thanks to large increases in foreign investment. This has been generated by the government’s willingness to make the reforms necessary to facilitate business, and also their success in decreasing the decades old security threat. These achievements have given the industry the confidence to believe that investment will continue to expand into the future, thereby increasing both the industry’s and the country’s growth rate. In the next ten years it is hoped that investment will facilitate the following expansion activities:
Continue growth in coal mining production (including new projects) – Hope to increase production up to 200 million tonnes by 2020. Estimated investment required: US$12.5 billion.
An expansion of gold mining production (including new projects) to utilise the country’s estimated gold reserves of more than 25 million ounces. Estimated investment: US$5 billion.
The expansion in the production of Colombia’s basic metal reserves (including new projects). Estimated investment: US$4.5 billion.
To continue activities in exploration for metals throughout the country. Estimated investment: US$2 billion.
Opportunities therefore exist for Australian mining companies to invest in these expansion projects, taking advantage of the expertise which Australian companies in this sector already possess. The entrenched presence in Colombia of Australian businesses, investing in exploration and production and the operation of mines illustrates the suitability of Australian mining practices to the region.
Mining operators in Colombia are mindful of the need to acquire the latest, most technologically advanced equipment and related products and services to boost productivity, lower costs, minimise their environmental impact and assist compliance with government regulations regarding occupational health and safety, etc. Opportunities therefore exist for any equipment, products or services that can help companies achieve these goals.