The Santurban highlands hold both a gold and water deposits. Obtaining the maximum benefit from one of these will impede benefiting from the other. The decision of determining the final use of this land is in hands of the Colombian Government, and depends in great manner of a concept by the Environment Ministry, regarding the borders of the paramo.
The final tracing of the borders of the Paramo (and therefore, of no-mining zones) was recently announced by the Ministry, who warned that it would not leave everyone satisfied.
The water deposit: The Santurban paramo is composed by a set of water recharge zones, lagoons and a special ecosystem. With a surface area of 143,000 ha it is responsible for the water supply of several municipalities including part of Bucaramanga, capital of the Santander Department. Approximately 2.2 million people.
The gold deposit: The paramo surrounds the California Valley and the Vetas districts, traditional mining centers and host of several mining companies with legal rights to advance exploration activities, which after investing nearly US$2 billion in the past 15 years have found resources of 20 million ounces of gold, and expect authorization to build mines and recover the investment.
This chart presents a summary of the average recent mining investments made in the CaliforniaVetas district and the resources found.
|Company||Investment (US$ million)||Period
|Resources (million Au oz)|
Source: Public information, OPHIR MRI