The National Mining Agency announced Tuesday it had expired 32 mining licenses in January and February.
Nine of these contracts alone are based in northern part of the country. The reason given for the lapsed contracts is non-payment concerning policies and penalties. Fines are imposed against defaults, and if these are not paid the rights to mining will expire.
The agency, which monitors and controls mining rights in the country, said that 70% of the titles were for coal followed by building materials and gold.
Once the title to mining has expired, the holder must suspend all mining activity in the area and begin the process of decommissioning and the environmental remediation process.
The agency’s president Maria Constanza Garcia Botero expects the miners will fulfill their obligations to “comply with all the economic, technical, environmental and legal requirements, otherwise the authority can impose fines, up to the cancellation or the expiration of the titles.”
On Monday Colombia also said it will not offer compensation to mineral explorers whose licenses are affected by a new national park in the northeastern Santander department.
According to the agency, companies that have environmental permits will be able to continue mining until their permits expire. However those without these permits will have to stop immediately.
Companies without permits include those who have been carrying out exploration in the area which is rich in gold and silver.
- La autoridad minera caduca 32 titulos (Agencia National de Mineria)
- Colombia says no compensation for Santander explorers (Reuters)