The Andean nation of Colombia is reportedly finalising a launch of a national mining company and a new state-owned mining company as royalties rise in the region.
The government’s National Mining Agency (NMA) told Reuters last week that Colombian president Gustavo Petro has vowed to reform the mining sector, focusing on critical minerals for the energy transition, like copper.
While coal mining royalties have more than doubled this year, the report said, Petro is ruling out more licenses for large-scale open-pit coal mines.
The formation of the new state-owned mining company started with an agreement to bring two international gold trading companies under control of the government, according to ANM President Alvaro Pardo, who spoke recently to journalists in Bogota. The two are currently held by the asset management fund Special Assets Society (SAE) that oversees assets seized from criminals and illegal groups to compensate victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict.
“These two international trading companies are passing over to the mining authority and the idea is to embed them in the national mining company,” Pardo told Reuters.
A memorandum of understanding between the parties was expected this week, the officials said 7 December.
The national mining company will only buy gold from miners who produce without using mercury or cyanide, Pardo said, and noted the new company will also put a dent in Colombia’s illegal gold trade as it will offer significantly higher prices to informal miners than those currently buying it.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 65% of Colombia’s alluvial gold production last year was illegal, Reuters reported.