Colombia’s ministry of mining announced that companies already operating in a newly-formed nature reserve can continue working despite the ministry of environment saying they cannot.
The status of the recently declared Natural Park in the northern part of the Santander department has been a source of consternation. The Regional Corporation for the Defense of the Plateua of Bucaramanga (CDMB), a board of local land-use decision makers, on Thursday ruled that a 27,911-acre area in the region would be declared a protected nature reserve.
Yet Colombia’s minister of mining and energy, Federico Renjifo, on Friday told Reuters that “they [companies that already have licenses] may finish performing the activity until the license expires…[but] all those who are exploring in the park will not be able to continue.”
The country’s environment minister, however, denied such claims.
“Obviously, issues of exploitation can not exist,” said minister Juan Gabriel Uribe. “Those who are in exploration phases cannot continue to explore.”
It is unclear which mining companies will be able to continue. Some companies with titles are in the middle of operations, where others remain in construction or exploration phases.