Colombia’s government has declared 17.6 million hectares in the East of the country as 'strategic areas for the mining industry'.
Minister of mines and energy, Mauricio Cárdenas, said the reserves are located in the jungle jurisdictions of Guanía and Vichada, bordering Venezuela; Vaupés, close to Brazil; Amazonas; as well as the departments of Guaviare and Chocó on the border with Panama, reported EFE.
Cardenas said those lands will be open for mining licenses, but acknowledged the majority of them are in protected zones, so officials would have to carefully pick specific regions to auction.
Once tinted by drug cartels and civil war, Colombia is now one of Latin America’s fastest growing markets and, according to the World Bank, the most secure country in the region in which to do business.
In the past year, investors, mining companies and explorers alike have been focusing on the South American country and reasons for this abound.
Colombia’s economy, which is Latin America’s fifth largest, has grown four times as rapidly as Canada’s in recent years, with foreign investment quadrupling between 2002 and 2008.