What Are the Natural Resources of Colombia?
Colombia has major deposits of a number of metals and minerals, such as gold, silver, nickel, iron ore, platinum and emeralds. The country also has large oil, natural gas and coal deposits.
Colombia is a longtime producer and exporter of oil and gas, and it is one of the most significant producers to not join OPEC. Oil production is largely controlled by the state-owned company Ecopetrol, but foreign companies have rights to some fields. Natural gas is produced for domestic use only.
Colombia also has the largest coal reserves of the Latin American countries. Most of the supply is high-quality bituminous coal. One of the largest open-pit coal mines in the world is located in Cerrejon.
Colombia is the world's largest individual producer of emeralds. Mining had previously only been done by the government, but it has shifted to the hands of private companies.
Mining of nickel is conducted by the state-owned company Cerro Matoso, but other types of precious metals and iron are mined by private interests, and the use of mercury in their extraction methods has caused significant pollution problems.
The majority of the country's power generation is hydroelectric. Potential for further generation exists, but is problematic as the best locations have already been dammed.