Large-scale mining in Colombia has grown in recent years, but not at a significant enough rate to suggest the future of the industry remains bright, reported local media on Wednesday.
According to Claudia Jimenez, the executive director of the Association of Large-Scale Mining Sector [SMGE], Colombia was ranked third in terms of ideal countries for foreign mining investment, but as of December 26, the country had slipped to fifth place.
Jimenez stated that mining contributed 1.8% to Colombia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 and more than a decade later in 2011, that number had grown to just 2.3%. In the first half of 2012, mining made up 2.4% of GDP.
Colombia’s fall from the third most ideal country for foreign mining investment to fifth, according to Jimenez, can be attributed to illegal mining, an uncertain governmental mining policy, security issues and inconsistencies at administrative levels among others.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos has stated that combatting illegal mining is a top priority. The head of state issued two decrees in November aimed at clarifying what constitutes “illegal mining” and what the penalties will be.
According to the president, illegal mining in Colombia “has become the fuel of much of the violence in this country.”