The Colombian mining sector continues to be an attractive investment market. Companies are undergoing major production expansions (especially coal and nickel), with several large foreign firms that are setting up their branches in Colombia and are applying for exploration rights to develop new coal, gold and copper mines. This investment is also attracting new smaller firms into the country.
The national mining code and the revision of the National Mining Development Plan (PNDM) are leading to faster development of new mining projects and helping the government achieve its goal to increase Colombia’s exports. The government is developing an exploration plan to cover more than 120,000 square kilometers of promising areas, including geophysical and geo-chemical prospecting that could allow a better understanding of mineral potential and attract private partners.
Colombia has proven coal reserves of 6.6 billion metric tons and up to 4.5 billion tons of indicated reserves (about 40 percent of Latin America, and 10th in the world). Current production levels have been over 74 million tons during 2010 and double production by 2019 to reach 140 million tons per year.
Colombia also is also gradually increasing production of gold, nickel, emeralds, and other mining products.
The Colombian government continues its efforts to improve the condition of its road network, facing challenges such as a high degree of deterioration, a lack of maintenance, and insufficient geographic coverage.
Major investments in this area are needed to reduce the current excess costs in transportation expenses and vehicle deterioration, since roads are used to transport the vast majority of the country’s cargo. According to the World Economic Forum, Colombia ranks poorly compared to other countries in the region in highways quality, port infrastructure and air transportation among 142 countries. At the same time, the government intends to develop an important program to promote navigation on the 1,600-kilometer Magdalena River running through the heart of the country.
In November 2011, the government created the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) that replaces the National Concessions Institute (Inco). The objective of creating this new agency is to increase transparency, reduce the risk of corruption and, create a national infrastructure authority, ensuring that project designs are technically and financially solid. Other priorities involve the reform of the Royalties Act (Reformas de Regalías), to disburse the National Royalties Fund (Fondo Nacional de Regalías) nationwide instead to a few municipalities with non-renewable resources. This reform will bring significant funding and opportunities to both sectors.
The Minister of Transportation, German Cardona, has requested USD 7 billion in spending on Colombia’s infrastructure to overhaul the country's roads, bridges and railways, and the government plans to sale a 9.9 percent of the government’s stake in state-owned oil company Ecopetrol to be used to finance infrastructure development. Although funding for new projects remain scarce, the government has put aside USD 12.8 million to complete current projects.
Sub-Sector Best Prospects
Best prospects include equipment to minimize the negative effects of operations, complying with environmental legislation, minimizing pollution, allowing to reuse, reduce and recycle: lift trucks, multi-directional forklifts, containers handlers, telescopic handlers for rough terrain, boom lifts and man lifts, sweeper and scrubbers, trek sweeper attachments, compressors and generator, and rainwater, water and liquid waste collection systems; for the mining sector: eco-friendly dredging, drilling, recovery, transportation, storage facilities, processing, disposal of waste material mining equipment. Other best prospects include material handling equipment, excavating machinery, sinking machinery, parts, dumpers, lifting machinery, bulldozers and mechanical shovels.