Colombia’s mines and energy minister said the Andean nation will strive to keep oil production at roughly 1 million barrels of crude per day in 2015 and also maintain coal and gold output at current levels despite the sharp recent drop in global raw material prices.
Tomas Gonzalez, who is in Toronto for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada annual conference, the world’s largest mining convention, said several major industry players have expressed an interest in investing in Colombia and that the foreseeable end to a decades-long armed conflict will particularly benefit the mining and energy sector.
“Production must be kept at its maximum level; that’s the slogan. And make sure exploration is maintained. Exploration is tomorrow’s production. It’s how we’ll keep output more or less stable,” he told Spanish news agency Efe on Tuesday.
Foreign investment in the mines and energy sector and that sector’s rapid development in recent years have helped fuel the Andean nation’s economic progress and thus it is essential for Colombia to continue to promote robust output, Gonzalez said.
Colombia’s government is working “on several fronts” to boost the country’s competitiveness amid a context of lower prices for raw materials, according to the minister.
He mentioned efforts to streamline the licensing and permitting process, as well as a bill now before Congress that would provide a more flexible royalty regime for unconventional, offshore and incremental production projects.
Referring to a possible negotiated end to a longstanding war against leftist guerrillas, the minister said that could “open new exploration areas, areas potentially very rich” in resources, and give companies the operational certainty they require.