Mining in Colombia: Sector Risk Monthly
Updated: Jun 8
The immense economic and development opportunity that mineral resources represent for Colombia - particularly coal, nickel, and copper - is contrasted with the risks mining activities face.
Colombia is a rich country geologically speaking, however it has not been able to fully develop its mining potential due to a combination of factors including the lack of political consensus on its importance, inconsistencies in legal interpretation that raise risks for companies, reputational weaknesses in the sector, and latent problems of insecurity in rural areas. Additionally, Colombia is a country that remains unexplored because the conflict prevented (and in some areas still prevents) access to geological exploration.
According to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies, Colombia Ranks 48th out of 83 jurisdictions in terms of its attractiveness for mining investment. Although the country’s attractiveness has increased, it still ranks below regional peers such as Chile, Peru, Mexico, Suriname, and Guyana. In spite of the above, in 2018 Colombia’s mineral exports amounted to USD 12bn representing 28.6% of the country's total exports. According to the Deputy Minister of Mines, Carolina Rojas, the government aims to raise foreign direct investment from the current USD 1.7bn dollars to 6bn by 2020, which would generate an estimated 20 thousand jobs and significant royalties to the state. In addition, according to official figures, mining generates around COP 5tn (USD 1.55bn) in taxes per year and represents 2% of GDP. According to the Comptroller General, the country has 9,594 mining titles representing more than 5 million hectares - equivalent to 3.26% of the national territory.
The immense economic and development opportunity that mineral resources represent for Colombia - particularly coal, nickel, and copper - is contrasted with the risks mining activities face. Colombia Risk Analysis anticipates that the following elements will represent political risks for the mining industry in 2019.