The discussion about Colombia being or not a mining country is not remarkable right now. Clearly, –and excluding petroleum, this sector offers great possibilities contributing to the development for our country, but it also has some features that we cannot find in other activities, on complex matters such as titling and its management, boundaries for traditional craft business and illegality, characteristics of the owner companies, finance management, related-to-the-environment exploration and exploitation, among other issues, not to mention what happens with the production numbers and exports that no one explains because there is no clue about what happens, like the case of gold.
Evidently, there are mining issues that have more public exposition than others, because political and individual interests involved make it that way intentionally. Nevertheless, this does not mean that there are no significant others that remain hidden. The Government has the task of making that identification and prioritizing without falling into the trap of those media players.
In other words, mining requires some state policy, which means more than including it as one of our so called engines of development; a state policy without which everything is reduced to a patchwork, as what happens nowadays: In the last few months, 26 mining decrees and resolutions have been issued.
Having mining as a developing sector, it requires a highly coordinated action from the state in all of its instances. As few sectors, mining concerns to various ministries: Mines, Treasury, Labor, Agriculture, Social Security, Health, Transport, Environment, Defense, Home Office, Foreign Trade y National Planning. The administration cannot allow everyone to make its own decisions. It would be a mess.
It is therefore urgent that the National Council of Economic and Social Policy (Conpes) clearly sets some mining policy with the route, limits and the overall control. Only then, standards and rules can come to develop that policy, and not backwards like it is happening right now. The issuance of a new mining code that the government is discussing with unions and companies, which later must go to the tortuous consultation with ethnic communities (Home Office has that responsibility, but no one knows how is that done), and then Congress must be part of it too. Meanwhile, there are norms like Law 685 of 2001 that may be useful, with complementary regulation.