Inspenet, August 29, 2023.
This is the first coltan extraction in the country
Colombia is on the verge of starting the extraction of one of the most precious minerals on the planet: coltan. These rare earth elements are essential for the military defense industry, cutting-edge technology and the energy transition, making them a strategic resource of considerable importance worldwide.
Canadian company Auxico Resources Canada is leading the project in Colombia and has recognized an ideal business opportunity; that is why it has assumed the task of being the first to extract coltan in the country. It should be noted that since 2019, they have been dedicated to obtaining authorizations and carrying out the required investigations.
In 2020, after carrying out research in a region historically impacted by asteroids in the rural area of Puerto Carreño, Vichada, on a property known as Minastyc, the company confirmed the presence of elements such as tantalum and niobium, both components of the valuable coltan .
After securing rights to a 189-hectare piece of land in Minastyc, Auxico Resources Canada did not stop there and also acquired another piece of land called Agualinda, which sits alongside its first acquisition and covers 1,293 hectares.
Together they now have a total area of 1,482 hectares , giving them access to approximately one million metric tons of rare earths .
Extraction project is lucrative
Auxico Resources Canada’s cash flow forecasts anticipate a highly lucrative business. It is estimated that by the year 2040, the company will be able to generate around 3,900 million dollars , obtaining annual profits close to 220 million.
The Canadian expert Daniel Bland has detailed that the extraction will be carried out in the alluvial sands, which entails superficial excavation and, consequently, reduced costs.
The multinational company not only intends to carry out the exploitation in Vichada, but has also communicated the construction of a rare earth refinery in the free zone of Santa Marta.
This facility, with an area of 10,000 m 2 and an investment of 116.2 million dollars, will have an annual production capacity of 36,000 tons .
Environmental and social challenges
Despite encouraging economic prospects, the company faces significant environmental and social challenges in connection with its coltan mining project in Colombia.
One of the main concerns is to ensure that the project meets required environmental standards and does not have a negative impact on neighboring indigenous communities. The Directorate of the National Prior Consultation Authority has highlighted that the closest ethnic community is located at a distance of 3.7 kilometers from the project and geographically separated by alluvial deposits.
However, the company must exercise caution and consider the impact of its operations on the 1,482 hectares it owns, not just Minastyc’s 189.
Fully aware of the importance of collaborating with local communities, Auxico Resources Canada has initiated dialogues with the Warrawuanae community of the Guacamayas Maiporé Reservation with the purpose of establishing agreements for the acquisition of tin from their artisanal miners.