President of the Colombian Mining Association (ACM), Juan Camilo Narino announced on Tuesday that Colombia’s mining industry is anticipated to recover 15% in 2021, driven by the increase in coal, gold, and nickel production, and surge in direct foreign investment to $2.7 billion.
Sector’s 26% drop in 2020
Colombia’s mining sector had tumbled 26% in 2020 propelled by the global coronavirus pandemic and 91-day strike at coal mine Cerrejon. The direct foreign investment had also dropped in half to $902 million.
The coal production had plunged 40% to 49.5 million tonnes in 2020. The gold production for 2020 was 1.53 million troy ounces, while nickel production was 36,000 tonnes. A troy ounce weighs around 31.1 grams, while a regular ounce weighs just over 28.3 grams.
15% recovery in 2021
An industry association said that Colombia’s mining industry is expected to recover 15% in 2021 due to the higher production of gold, nickel, and coal.
Narino commented: “We expect the mining sector will finish this year recovering some 15%, a recovery marked by better coal production … and boosted by new gold and copper projects.”
The association noted that the recovery will also be boosted by the restarting of infrastructure works and rising demand for luxury goods like emeralds, in addition to improving coal production and new projects.
Challenges for the mining sector
Narino also cautioned that there are challenges for the mining sector in 2021. He said that the challenges include “promoting exploration policies to attract larger investments, restoring previous coal production levels, and finding new coal markets, mainly in Asia.”
Production targets set
This year, the ACM had set a coal production target of 60 million tonnes, gold production target of 1.78 million troy ounces, and nickel production of 40,000 tonnes. Narino has forecast nickel exports of $10.7 billion for 2021.