A Colombian regulator announced that the suspension on new mining permits will be extended by another six months, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The ban would prevent the issuance of new mining permits until February of 2012.
“[Colombia] extends the term of suspension…for the receipt of proposed contracts for mining concessions and legalization of traditional mining for a period of six months from August 3 this year,” said the government in a press release.
The suspension is necessary to address a significant backlog of applications for mining permits, and to review safety regulations in the mining sector.
Colombia received 3,600 mining applications in 2010, 3,900 in 2009 and 7,800 in 2008.
The government has reported that nearly 500 miners have been killed in Colombia between 2005 and 2010. This year Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled that Congress must reform the nation’s mining laws within two years as local communities have been neglected from the consultation process for changes in the mining sector.
The ban is expected to serve as a buffer period as Santos’ government prepares to unveil new mining policies to strengthen regulatory institutions and fight corruption.
It is unlikely that Colombia’s economy will be significantly affected, as most of the anticipated growth in the mining sector has come from projects that have already been approved.