* Colombia to lure $4.5 billion in gold FDI in 2010-2020
* Gold companies to invest $400 million in 2010
* Companies to produce 3 million ounces of gold by 2015
By Diana Delgado
BOGOTA, April 19 Gold mining companies will
invest as much as $4.5 billion over the next ten years in
Colombia, attracted by rich unexplored areas and soaring
prices, the head of the country's Asomineros miners group told
Gold companies are expected to invest as much as $400
million in exploration and production this year, up from $300
million in 2009, Arturo Quiros, executive director of
Asomineros said on the sidelines of a mining seminar in capital
Areas of exploration have opened up in Colombia under
President Alvaro Uribe, who is popular for increasing security
with his U.S.-backed crackdown drug-running guerrillas.
"The gold boom has continued due to high prices of the
metal," Quiros said.
"Improved security conditions and relatively unexplored
areas compared to other countries in Latin America explain why
there is such a high interest to explore in Colombia," he
In all, Colombia will double its gold production over the
next five years. The Andean country could produce around 3
million troy ounces of gold in 2015, twice as much as the 1.57
million troy ounces produced last year and much higher than the
501,500 troy ounces produced in 2006, Quiros said.
Colombia attracted a record $3.24 billion in foreign direct
investment (FDI) in mining last year, compared with $2.11
billion in 2008. Of that amount, the coal sector saw the
biggest inflows, Silvana Giaimo, vice minister of mines and
Mining weighted 40 percent of the country's total foreign
direct investment last year, much higher than the 19 percent in
"Foreign direct investment in mining will continue. The
potential is huge," Giaimo said, noting that Canadian companies
are especially interested in exploring precious metals in
Canadian Greystar Resources GSL.TO plans to invest about
$39.3 million this year in its Angostura gold and silver
project, more than double the $19.6 million invested last year,
Geoff Charter, vice president of corporate development told
Of the total, Greystar has allocated approximately $24.5
million for infrastructure related to the Angostura project.
The remaining $14.7 million will be used to complete the
feasibility study and exploration drilling, Charter added.
Greystar plans to begin the construction of the mine in
2011, Charter noted.
The company plans to invest $600 million at its Angostura
gold and silver mine with output beginning in the second half
of 2012, Frederick Felder, Greystar's executive vice president
Angostura is expected to produce an average of 2.3 million
ounces of silver per year over the expected 15-year life of the
Canadian Medoro Resources (MRS.V) plans to invest about
$100 million in exploration, production and related activities
this year at its recently acquired gold companies Frontino,
Mineros Nacionales, Colombia Gold PLC and Colombia Gold.
AngloGold Ashanti's (ANGJ.J) is also expected to invest
$100 million in exploration at its La Colosa mine in Tolima
province, where the company announced it had found unproven
reserves of 12.3 million ounces.
(Reporting by Diana Delgado; Editing by Marguerita Choy)