Greystar expects to get its environmental permit for Angostura in Colombia this year.
BY JOHN OTIS
BOGOTA –Canada-based Greystar Resources was one of the few international gold mining companies exploring in Colombia in the mid-1990s, an era when Marxist guerrillas controlled many parts of the country. But persistence could pay big dividends. Greystars Angostura concession, located in the California-Vetas gold district in northeastern Colombia, may hold 10 million troy ounces of gold. This dovetails nicely with President Juan Manuel Santos’ plan to make mining one of the country’s five “locomotives” of economic growth.
But Greystar’s plan to build Colombia’s largest open-pit gold mine has hit snags. It would be located in and around a fragile high-mountain ecosystem known as paramo. Parmos are cloud-shrouded areas covered with peat bogs, grasslands and shrubs. Colombia is home to nearly 60 percent of the world’s paramos, which act like mountaintop sponges and serve as vital sources of water. Environmentalists also point out that a 2010 reform to the mining code technically bans mineral extraction from paramos. But the government says projects like Greystar’s must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Greystar President Steve Kesler recently spoke with Latin Business Chronicle about the company’s outlook in Colombia.
Latin Business Chronicle: How do you view the prospects for Colombia’s mining sector?
Kesler: In ...