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Colombia’s new government is working on legislation that would require mining firms to get environmental licenses for exploration as part of a wider overhaul of the process for awarding concessions. If exploration takes place on indigenous lands, a prior consultation would also be required, the country’s environment minister Susana Muhamad told local press last week.
The gold and coal-rich nation currently only requires environmental permissions for projects in the extraction and production phases.
“I think we must put an environmental license for exploration … because there are also lots of conflict and a lack of control over mining exploration processes,” Muhamad said during a recent mining conference in Cartagena.
Colombia’s Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, seems to be on her side. Earlier this month it ordered government institutions to strengthen their environmental oversight of the mining sector.