It has been quite a fortnight for Colombian mining. First, small-scale, informal miners staged demonstrations demanding provisions be made for them in the country’s mining code. Then, miners at the Colombian operations of US coal miner Drummond went on indefinite strike. To crown it, Canada’s Braeval Mining, a gold miner, said it was pulling the plug on an option to acquire a mining area citing “unfavorable market conditions”, after one of its geologists was kidnapped by the country’s second largest rebel group early this year.
Historically, miners willing to operate in Colombia had to pay “war taxes” or extortion to leftwing rebels and other armed groups. But over the past decade improved security has made Colombia a darling of foreign investors, thanks to its booming energy and mining sectors. Investment has multiplied in areas previously off limits at the height of the country’s drug-fuelled internal war.
- Strikes, protests and kidnaps: tough times for Colombian mining