Colombian energy minister steps down

AMID increased scrutiny of the country’s growing mining industry and criticism over his leadership skills during a rash of mining fatalities, Colombian Energy Minister Carlos Rodado has reportedly stepped down from his post.
Colombian energy minister steps down Colombian energy minister steps down Colombian energy minister steps down Colombian energy minister steps down Colombian energy minister steps down


Donna Schmidt

President Juan Manuel Santos told media outlets, including Reuters, on Tuesday Rodado had been replaced by economist Mauricio Cardenas, a former member of the country’s senior government.

Cardenas is the third new minister to be named in the past month in the South American country.

Santos recently altered his cabinet members in the midst of major reforms and public scrutiny and pressure regarding mining practices at Colombian operations, according to Reuters.

Rodado cited personal reasons for his resignation. Santos has named him as ambassador to Argentina.

“[Cardenas] will make the locomotive that Doctor Rodado sped up go even faster," Santos reportedly told Reuters.

The new appointment follows an announcement by Santos on Monday that economist and former government Peace Commissioner Frank Pearl has been named as Colombia’s new head of the Environment Ministry.

According to the news service, that selection was made after some pressed for delays in the environmental licensing process that would impact mining as well as energy companies.

Cerrejon president Leon Teicher reportedly told Reuters he was optimistic of the improvements Cardenas would make to the industry in Colombia.

“We all know Mauricio Cardenas. He's an excellent technocrat on the one hand with a very good track record in political appointments,” he said.

Cerrejon is one of the world’s largest coal deposits in the world, with a resource base of about 5 billion tonnes. Of that, 2.1Bt is currently at a measured and indicated export quality status.

It is also Colombia’s largest operation and largest exporter. Colombia is the world’s fourth largest overall coal export country.

Between January and July 2011, at least 81 workers were killed in Colombian mining accidents, according to the country’s Energy Ministry. Whole-year 2010, 173 individuals lost their lives and 58 died in 2009.

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