UN: more than 60% of gold mining in Colombia is illegal

A recent report from the United Nations Organization on Drugs and Crime concludes that more than 60% of gold mining in the country is illegal. According to the aforementioned 236-page report, “66% of the evidence of alluvial gold exploitation does not have technical and / or environmental permits nor is it in transit towards legality, which constitutes an illegal activity”. The UN report suggests that 12 of the 32 departments present evidence of alluvial gold exploitation on land, with a total of 98,028 hectares (ha) and close to half (52%) are in excludable mining areas, territories in which, due to their function of protection and conservation of environmental heritage, exploitation is not allowed.

IDB allocates $ 161.8 mn to improve social security system in Colombia

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the approval of $ 161.8 million for Colombia for the sustainability of its social security system. Resources are destined to improve the management of total expenditure on health services and technologies, as well as to strengthen the efficiency and coverage of the General Social Security System. The IDB hopes that these resources will also be an incentive to increase health coverage for the immigrant population. The program has a loan of $ 150 million, with a repayment term of 14.7 years and a Libor interest rate. Additionally, it will have $ 11.8 million of non-reimbursable resources aimed at improving access to health for the migrant population.

Colombian ISA agrees to purchase Brazilian PBTE for $ 309 mn

Colombian conglomerate ISA reported on Wednesday that it agreed to purchase the Brazilian Piratininga-Bandeirantes Transmissora de Energia (PBTE), for $309 million. ISA carried out the business through the purchase of the shares that SF Energía S.A. and Kavom Energía had PBTE. ISA transports about 33% of the electrical energy produced in Brazil, operates in 17 of the 26 states and has more than 18,000 kilometers of transmission lines in that country. The Colombian conglomerate - in which the government owns a majority stake - is engaged in energy, roads and information and telecommunications technology businesses in Latin America.

Colombia begins permitting for 148MW thermoelectric power plant

Cali-based company Puertos, Inversiones y Obras has begun the permitting process for a thermoelectric power plant and associated infrastructure near Colombia's Pacific coast. According to documents filed with environmental licensing authority ANLA, the initiative includes a 230kV transmission link and will require investment of $194 million. The plant, dubbed Termosolo 1, will boast installed capacity of 148MW and will be fueled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) shipped from abroad to the Puerto Solo port complex in Buenaventura.