Three mining disputes: the first investment disputes against Colombia come to light

On February 19, 2016, Cosigo Resources (Canada) and Tobie Mining and Energy (United States) submitted an arbitration request against Colombia under the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) concluded by Colombia with the United States and Canada. The claimants argue that their investment in the mining concession of Taraira South was expropriated fraudulently and without compensation. The concession is located in the Amazon region, within the Yaigojé Apaporis Natural Park, created by the Colombian government by means of a resolution. The claimant seeks US$16.5 billion for expropriation and US$11 million for the costs incurred to acquire the concession.

The Canadian company Eco Oro Minerals also announced a dispute with Colombia on its web page in March, alleging a delay in the delimitation of the Páramo de Santurbán environmental protected area, where mining activities had been prohibited, and claiming that its investments suffered from adverse effects as a result. The company warned that, if no agreement were reached during the next six months, it would submit the dispute to international arbitration under the Colombia–Canada FTAs.

Finally, on March 16, the Swiss giant Glencore submitted a third claim against Colombia at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), under the 2006 Colombia–Switzerland bilateral investment treaty. The mining company claims that the Colombian government has cancelled its concession agreement that enabled the expansion of activities in the Calenturitas and La Jagua mines.

Notes: The editorial team acknowledges, with many thanks, the contribution by Carolina Muñoz Bernal.

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