South Africa-based mining company AngloGold Ashanti is returning 38 mining licenses for areas of Colombia where mining has now been forbidden, economic publication Dinero reported Monday.
The mining company is in talks with local communities and Ingeominas, the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining, in order to move forward with the devolution of licenses.
It is relinquishing mining rights to the land following a change in the law two years ago which prohibited exploration and exploitation in protected natural parks or highlands. There was controversy at the start of the year regarding ongoing mining in protected areas.
“We agreed with Ingeominas to give back the licenses which overlap with highlands or natural parks, according to the information available as well as the study of the percentage of overlap and the specified coordinates. It is estimated that [there are] 38 licenses which have an overlap,” said AngloGold in a press release.
The company said it had given definitive data to Ingeominas on August 16 and is currently awaiting the final and concrete revision with the aim of finalizing the devolution process.
AngloGold said it has also returned, to the mining authority, the rights to almost 20 million acres where exploration was carried out but did not achieve the anticipated results.
Between 2003 and October 2011, AngloGold Ashanti paid land tax close to $31 million.
For 2012 it expects to pay a mining tax of approximately $8 million. This only includes tax on land it has already won the contracts to mine – not the additional land it expects to be granted rights to.