COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining
President, National Mining Agency (ANM)
Juan Miguel Durán Prieto is a lawyer from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, a specialist in commercial and business law from Universidad del Rosario, and has advanced studies from the University of Notre Dame in the US. In the public sector, he has served as superintendent of ports and transportation, secretary of government, and secretary of economic development, industry, and tourism in the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá. He has also been general manager of the Educational Infrastructure Financing Fund and credit manager of the World Bank; consultant for USAID in the Orinoco Master Plan, and advisor to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic. He is a postgraduate professor in the master of international business law at Universidad Externado de Colombia and has also been a professor at Universidad del Rosario and Sergio Arboleda.
ANM wants the mining industry to be an engine of economic reactivation for Colombia based on efficiency, effectiveness, diversification, and the demystification of the sector.
Through what mechanisms does the ANM manage Colombia’s mineral resources and promote investment in the country, and how do you promote potential projects to investors?
Our main focus is to administer Colombia’s mineral resources through its promotion, the evaluation and granting of mining titles, and supervision to ensure that all contracts and activities comply with the law and ensure sustainable mining. We receive applications for new mining titles, undergo the entire process by evaluating the legal, financial and technical aspects. We then address the respective mayors regarding the nature of the new applications and finally hold a public hearing with the communities to inform them of the potential of new projects. Finally, we decide on whether or not the mining titles are issued. In addition, we have established new and innovative promotion strategies in the form of business round tables, opening new markets internationally for different minerals and launching mining rounds in order to let potential investors and companies know which areas have a high potential in certain minerals. We then engage in consultation with the communities together with the environmental authority to establish a baseline for the environmental impact study and launch the bidding process for companies in compliance with the prerequisites. For the first time, Colombia is letting everyone know where there are areas with high potential in strategic minerals, with access to comprehensive technical information. The mining rounds not only help to maximize the exploration phase, but also include interesting aspects for local communities such as social investments for the region, as well as benefits for the country and for investors.
How does the ANM strategically assist the government?
The Ministry is tasked with regulating the sector, while we execute the policies and all of the procedures. We also participate with the technical information and insights in order for policies to be actual and pertaining to the needs of the sector. We also participate in the formulation of laws that are in Congress concerning the mining sector. We constantly assess the need for new policies and how to fortify existing ones.
ANM is actively engaged in disseminating best practices among Colombian miners. What programs are targeted at formalizing the mining industry?
These past two years we decided to work from the mining regions in Colombia. We have 11 different offices regionally. We have been taking all the vice presidents and the managers as well as the people who lead all the procedures to work from the mining territories. We invite all the local officials and generate an ecosystem in order to help out, resolve bottlenecks, and demystify the sector. We train people in security measures. We have different scenarios where we seek feedback from the mayors and mining operators. We have spoken to young people in the territories to create awareness of responsible mining in an attempt to involve them in the regulated mining sector. All of this occurs approximately every 15 days. This has contributed to efficiency and compliance with procedures.
By 2030, you intend to become an international player in mining resources. What steps are needed to fulfill the mission?
In 2020, we put a system in place that enables easy access to information on titles and applications, and the identification of both opportunities as well as restrictions present in Colombia. All procedures are done virtually through the system, which makes it easier for people to access information and more transparent. We also fiscalize our outgoing projects by leveraging advanced technology. We use satellite images for operational oversight, for example. We will soon implement drones for this operation. We receive information online from various companies around Colombia. We are also developing a traceability system that should become operational by the end of this year. We will be employing IoT for this process. Through technical tools and innovative strategies, we will have further diversified our mineral matrix by 2030. We hope to let investors know about these huge opportunities and that these opportunities will become realities.