The Colombian Government has hinted that its suspension of new requests for mining concessions may last longer than the initial six months. The calls for stricter Governmental supervision came in early February after a series of accidents and explosions in 2010 and 2011. A recent explosion at La Preciosa mine killed at least 20 people; 31 miners died at the same mine in 2007.
Energy Minister Carlos Robado has said of the former legislation, “Getting a mining license in the last few years was literally done with only an ID card”. Between 2005 and 2010 almost 500 miners lost their lives, most of them in underground coal mines. Robado has said of the suspension, “Possibly its not going to be six months, possibly its going to be one year, but we have said provisionally it will be for six months.”
Robado’s announcement comes just after Colombia’ output figures for 2010 are revealed to have risen 2% on the previous year. The country produced 74.35 million t, though heavy rains and flooding cut production short of the Government’s 80 million t target. The Energy Minister forecasts that in 2011 production will rise to between 85 – 90 million t.
Colombia is due to decide on approval for 29 port projects for coal, petroleum and bulk loading. A huge influx of foreign investment has increased the country’s trading potential, but a current lack of infrastructure, especially ports and capacity, is making it hard to realise.
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