Colombia’s mining industry hit a record 6.13-trillion pesos ($1.32-billion) in royalties last year, the Colombian Mining Association (ACM) said on Thursday.
The record royalties come at a time when the government of Colombian leftist President Gustavo Petro hopes to wean Latin America’s fourth-largest economy off of its dependence on oil and coal exports, which represent huge sources of income.
Exports hit $22.16-billion in 2022, the ACM said, in line with forecasts it made in late December when the organization forecast a bonanza year for Colombia’s mining sector due to higher commodity prices, particularly coal.
Coal production rose 10% year on year to 65.3-million tonnes, marking a second year of recovery after falling sharply in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, gold output fell 10% versus 2021 to 1.56-million troy ounces, the ACM said. A regular ounce is equal to 28.35 grams, while a troy ounce is 31.10 grams.
The lion’s share of Colombia’s gold output comes from informal miners.
Nickel production rose 7% in 2022, the ACM said, growing to 41,000 tonnes from 38,300 tonnes in 2021.
“What we’re seeing is the positive behavior of a sector that has become key not only for the energy transition, but also for boosting the country’s regional economies,” ACM President Juan Camilo Narino told journalists at a press conference in Colombia’s second city, Medellin.
The government’s National Mining Agency did not have statistics on royalties or production immediately to hand, a spokesperson said.