New Colombia strikes while the iron's hot

FOLLOWING the lifting of a two-year suspension on applications for coal concessions in coal-rich Colombia, met miner New Colombia Resources has moved quickly to submit documentation for additional acreage to fuel its growth.

Donna Schmidt

“South American mining companies received encouraging news last week that after a two-year suspension Colombia's national mining agency [Agencia Nacional de Mineria] has reopened its application process for new mining concessions through a web-based platform,” the company said of the July 2 announcement.

As a result, New Colombia said it wanted to be in a position to capitalize on the Andean nation’s resources and had applied for an additional 148 hectares through the platform.

Officials said it had received an application number and hoped to acquire more high-quality metallurgical coal properties to add to its portfolio, which already included total ownership of the La Tabaquera coal mine with an estimated 15-17 million tonnes of reserves with a 70%-30% split of met and thermal coal.

The miner has hired SGS Colombia SA to complete a National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report on the property and a drilling program is in progress.

New Colombia also has applied for a work permit by submitting a works program with the ANM.

“[O]ur environmental impact assessment is 60 per cent complete, it will be finished once the drilling results determine our mining plan and environmental impact,” officials said.

“We expect to apply for our environmental permit and have our work permit approved in Q3 2013. The drilling program and NI 43-101 are expected to be completed in Q3 2013.”

Once the final financing is in place, the miner will have three revenue producing business units in Colombia: coal mining, coking oven facilities, and docks, river, and rail transportation to export terminals in Colombia.

In 2011 the Colombian government suspended the approvals of mining concessions so it could carry out a complete reorganization of the sector. This included establishing entities to research, manage and monitor the mineral resources development.

Colombia, the world's fourth largest coal exporter and Latin America’s biggest coal producer Latin America, recorded output of 89.2Mt in 2012.

Colombian officials outlined 313 strategic mineral areas with a total of 2.9Mha last year with both metallurgical coal and other strategic minerals identified.