Mining and Energy Transition

Energy, Regulation & Policy    Mar 18, 2021 3:29 PM

The Minister of Mines and Energy (MinEnergia), Diego Mesa, spoke about mining and the energy transition.

Mesa highlighted that “mining is a golden opportunity for New Energy,” Portafolio reported.

He said that Colombia’s transition is mining-energy, since metallic minerals are key for the installation and use of solar and wind energy.

“No transformation of the energy and transport sector is possible without mining. An example is that a 3MW turbine needs 4.7 tons of copper, 335 tons of steel and 1,300 tons of concrete,” Mesa explained.

Copper and gold are the two main minerals that will be used to diversify the mining basket through 30 projects. These will represent investments of US$5B, generating 7,000 jobs.

Mesa said that investors should look to Colombia as an investment destination due to the good business environment and its geological potential, institutional strength, and its constant work to achieve a harmonious relationship between investment, environmental protection, and the relationship with communities.

“Recovery from the pandemic is an opportunity to promote a sustainable economic reactivation based on four strategies: renewable energies, energy security, sustainable mobility and mining diversification,” Mesa added.

Bottom-Line: We cannot question the Minister’s intentions. Nor would we doubt the country’s potential in this area. But when we look back over the history of mining in the last 20 years, we are skeptical.

Gold in particular attracts the anti-mining lobby because legitimate mining would crowd out the artisanal and illegal miners who dominate the industry today. There is no lack of earnest environmentalists to stop organized mining. They just do not hang around to see what kind of miners moves in – and what techniques are used – after they have successfully disrupted hundreds of millions of dollars of exploration investment.

Copper is new to Colombia and so there is no history.

Conspicuous by their absence from the Minister’s list are rare earths, essential to new energy, like coltan. They are here, but those who mine them today frown on having competition (to put it mildly).

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