Colombian Mining Association Anticipates a $7.5 Billion Investment over Next Five Years

After a 52-year long civil war in Colombia, a peace deal signals the much-anticipated end to conflict.  Under the close supervision of U.N. inspectors, The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has packed up its weapons. For his part in resolving the five-decade civil war, Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

These internal violent clashes have taken a drastic human toll, but the Latin American country also suffered a severe economic setback. Colombia sits atop a treasure chest filled with precious minerals, and is the world's fifth-largest producer of coal. But with all the conflict above ground, the underground reservoir of gold, silver, copper and emeralds hasn't been fully utilized.

Poised for Renewed Opportunities

Despite the interminable civil war, Colombia experienced significant growth in the past decade. This expansion propelled it to the top of the list of Latin America's fastest-growing economies. Many economists believe the country could have flourished further had the government not been investing heavily in the war. Resources that were previously funneled into fighting the FARC will now be invested into the country's neglected infrastructure.

The olive branch between the insurgents and the government has a hefty price tag attached. According to a Colombian senator, it could cost upwards of $40 billion. This will include structural as well as land reform, and reestablishing communities. Now that the dust has settled, officials are optimistic that new   investment opportunities will prove to be attractive for foreign developers. If their prediction is accurate, new ventures will boost Colombia's economy even further.

Mining to Drive Colombia's Growth

In May 2017, the head of the Colombian Mining Association, Santiago Angel said that under the proper investment conditions, the country could attract between $1.5 and $1.7 billion a year. A five-year investment could amount to $7.5 billion.

Angel added that copper has generated a tremendous boost in popularity among investors. “There are mining companies that have quite advanced exploration phases, we believe that in the next few years we could have a working copper project,” Angel noted.

Gold in Colombia: Producers

As one of Latin America's largest gold producers, Colombia extracts nearly 56 tons of the metal annually. Yet, most of the country's gold mining is conducted illegally. Below is a list of the most important producers:

  • AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) has been exploring since 2002, resulting in two significant discoveries. These are located in the Tolima and Antioquia provinces, La Colosa and Gramalote, respectively. These two projects are currently in the advanced economic evaluation phase.
  • Gran Colombia Gold Corp. (TSX: GCM) has its major focus in Colombia. The Canadian-based exploration company is the largest underground gold and silver producer in Colombia and operates mines in Segovia and Marmato. Currently, Gran Colombia is refining its Segovia operations project to develop an extensive, modernized gold and silver mine. The Company reported a record gold production month in May 2017 in Segovia of 13,621 ounces. The five-month total of 2017 is 58,711 ounces, surpassing the same period last year by 25 percent.
  • Atico Mining Corporation (TSX.V: ATY | OTC: ATCMF) announced results from its El Roble mine in Colombia. The production for the quarter ending June 30, 2017 totaled 5.15 million pounds of copper and 2,570 of gold in concentrates. This represents an 8 percent increase for copper, and a 13 percent decrease in gold during the same period in 2016.
  • Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE:NEM), a Denver-based gold producer, reported its intentions in May 2017, to spend $109 million to buy just under 20 percent of Toronto-based explorer Continental Gold, Inc. (TSE:CNL) and its Buriticá project in Colombia.
  • New Colombia Resources, Inc. (OTC PINK: NEWC) is a publicly-traded metallurgical coal company focused primarily in Colombia. The company's strategy is to acquire and develop premium metallurgical coal producers in the Latin American country. New Colombia announced in January 2017 that mining engineers discovered a massive new outcropped coal seam spanning more than 3 meters.

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