Investment in Colombia’s mining and energy industry is expected to reach $57 billion over the next five years, Mining Minister Hernan Martinez said Thursday.
“The industry already has firm promises for these investments,” Martinez said, adding that the money would be spent in oil, mining, electricity and biofuel projects.
Colombia has enjoyed a commodities boom over recent years thanks to improved security in the countryside under the security policies of President Alvaro Uribe, who leaves office Aug. 7.
President-elect Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister for Uribe, has named Carlos Rodado to replace Martinez as mining minister.
The improved security has brought an inflow of international investment to Colombia, which Martinez said could reach $10 billion this year, and has sparked an appreciation of the peso. Martinez said that worries about the stronger peso and the negative impact it may have on the Colombian economy may be overblown.
“The oil and mining sector only represents about 6% of the economy,” Martinez said. “In countries where it represents around 30% of the economy, it can be a real problem,” he said.
Colombia is also ready to auction some gold, iron and coal mining areas in the second half of this year, said Mario Ballesteros, the head of Ingeominas, Colombia’s mining regulatory agency.
“Several companies and individuals have already shown interest,” Ballesteros said, without giving more details. (Darcy Crowe / Dow Jones)