A Highly Prospective Region


Mining in Colombia goes back to pre-Columbian times, boasting the longest and most productive history of gold exploitation in South America. Until the early 20th century, 30% of the world's gold came from Colombia, making it the largest gold producer in the Americas. In modern times, most of the country's gold production has come from small artisanal mining operations, leaving much of the country's gold potential untapped.

Colombia's strong and steady economic growth, compared to other South American countries, makes Colombia stand out as an exceedingly attractive emerging market.

Colombia's current president, Juan Manuel Santos, identified the mining sector as one of five drivers of development in Colombia -- the other four being agriculture, housing, infrastructure, and innovation. This sector provides the country with over $16 billion that is used to finance spending in key areas such as infrastructure, security, health, education and anti-poverty programs. A commitment was made to improve institutional capacity to meet the needs of miners and the communities affected by mining operations. To that end, the National Mining Policy aims to double the mining sector's contribution to GDP by 2019. The policy has three main pillars:
  • to promote investment;
  • to strengthen the institutions involved in the management of mineral resources;
  • and to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of artisanal miners.
The World Bank is acting as an advisor to Colombia in these areas to enable the country to adhere to international good practice in order to enhance the sector's competitiveness and transparency. They are also advising on environmental and social monitoring and enforcement.

Mining Authorities

To strengthen their positive support, the government has been steadily working to increase the security of the entire country. Many regions that were considered off limits in past years are now in the exploration phase. In 2012, Colombian Mining Institutions were also formed to ensure the proper conduct of mining as a large percentage of the country's gold comes from illegal mining.

Ministry of Mines and Energy

The Ministry of Mines and Energy is the principal mining authority in Colombia and is in charge of managing mining resources and formulating mining polices. A Vice Ministry of Mines was established within the Ministry of Mines and Energy to perform two key functions:
  • To design policy to promote responsible mining
  • To help small, informal miners take the steps to formalizing their activities to follow environmental, safety and labour regulations.

National Mining Agency

The National Mining Agency (la Agencia Nacional de Minería or "ANM") was created to manage Colombia's mineral resources and guarantee more thorough supervision of the mining industry as a whole. It is tasked with promoting the sustainable development of the country's mineral resources, granting mining titles for the exploration and exploitation of such resources and, in coordination with the relevant environmental authorities, ensuring that all mining companies adhere to the terms of such titles and other relevant legal requirements. The agency is currently undergoing a modernization and organization process that will create a comprehensive mining census of all mining titles in the country. A review of all mining titles is currently underway, which involves a comprehensive revision of the technical, environmental, financial and legal aspects of every title.

Colombian Geological Service

The Colombian Geological Service (Servicio Geologico Colombiano or "SGC", formerly Ingeominas) is responsible for performing scientific research to improve the quality and quantity of information made available about the nation's geology

The increase in political stability as well as security combined with the steady growth of the economy and establishment of proper regulation and procedures has helped Colombia stand out as a prospective region for investment.


Mining Leaders Magazine - Colombia. (2013).

World Gold Analyst. The Colombian Gold Mining Industry, GFMS World Gold (2011).