Colombia's new National Mining Agency (ANM) commenced operations on May 3 2012. In November 2011 the government introduced a number of institutional reforms inspired by the success of the National Hydrocarbon Agency. The objective behind these reforms is to introduce higher levels of control and more efficient and transparent mechanisms for the granting of mining licences in Colombia.

The main changes introduced by the mining institutional reform are as follows:

  • the creation of a vice ministry exclusively in charge of mining matters;
  • the creation of a new Directorate of Environment and Communities;
  • the centralisation of the administration of all mining resources at the ANM. This was previously shared with local mining agencies throughout the country. The ANM has announced that, for a period of no more than six months, the local mining authorities of Antioquia, Norte de Santander, Cesar, Caldas and Boyacá shall continue to share such administration in order to process over 19,000 mining licence applications which are still pending. For this purpose, the ANM has also extended the suspension for new mining licence applications until August 2012;
  • the conversion of Ingeominas, the previous national mining agency, into a purely technical body in charge of geological services and risk monitoring;
  • the strengthening of the capabilities of the Colombian Planning Unit – in charge of strategic thinking in the mining and energy sectors – in terms of planning activities in the sector;
  • the creation of the Environmental Licensing Unit as part of the Environmental Ministry; and
  • the creation of the Prior Consultation Directorate as part of the Interior Ministry. This directorate will handle the requisite procedures for all mining projects located in areas where indigenous or Afro-descendant communities exist.

In order to tackle corruption in the granting of mining licences by regional mining authorities, the ANM's aim is to administer from Bogota all mining licence procedures nationwide. For this purpose, the government has invested a great deal of resources in establishing a technological platform for online applications. The implementation process has experienced some difficulties and the agency has had to suspend new applications for several months.(1) Pursuant to the most recent decision of the ANM, new applications may be filed in August 2012.

For further information on this topic please contact Gabriela Mancero Bucheli at Peña Mancero by telephone (+57 (1) 640 1355) or email ([email protected]).


(1) Resolutions 180099 February 1 2011; 181233 July 29 2011; 180128 February 2 2012, 180505 April 2 2012 and 006 May 2 2012.