It is said that the indigenous and afro-descendant communities belonging to the rural areas of Colombia are dependent on small scale mining, thus Colombia is claimed to be a country with a 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. It is also noteworthy to know that there are around 211 minerals being extracted in their national coverage in the mining industry of Colombia, thus putting them in rank as one of the most important producers of nickel in South America, of coal in Latin America, and as second biggest producer of emeralds worldwide. However, there is an undergoing rough period being experienced now in the mining industry of Colombia because of the many judicial and administrative decisions that led to an atmosphere of legal instability and uncertainty among foreign investment. 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.
Note that mining in Colombia has different levels of development, from standards in production to the environmental management standards. An example is Colombia’s small scale mining, where although still in deficient where overall performance is concern, still it is the largest when it comes to production units, in employment generation and in some cases in terms of capacity where adding value of the minerals extracted 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 terms of large scale production, they execute this under the best technical, economic, environmental and social conditions, which proved to be beneficial for Colombia’s economy, in generating income and also on social and regional impact.
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.