Petroleum and coal are Colombia’s chief mining products. Other minerals extracted include gold, silver, emeralds, platinum, copper, nickel, and natural gas. The national petroleum company, Empresa Colombiana de Petróleos (ECOPETROL, Colombian Petroleum Company), controls petroleum operations along with several foreign-owned concessions. Production of crude petroleum is centered in the Magdalena River valley, about 650 km (about 400 mi) from the Caribbean, and in the region between the Cordillera Oriental and Venezuela. New oil reserves discovered 200 km (120 mi) east of Bogotá were expected to provide Colombia with energy self-sufficiency, as well as the means for significant exports, well into the 21st century. Much of Colombia’s oil is shipped to Curaçao for refining. Oil production rose from only 100,000 barrels per day in the early 1980s to 540,733 barrels per day in 2004.
Colombia is also one of the world’s leading exporters of coal. Two-thirds of an annual production of 47.6 million metric tons comes from a single open-pit mine, the world’s largest, on the Guajira Peninsula. Some 6.1 billion cu m (215 billion cu ft) of natural gas was produced in 2003.
Gold, mined in Colombia since pre-Columbian times, is found principally in the department of Antioquia and to a lesser extent in the departments of Cauca, Caldas, Nariño, Tolima, and Chocó. Platinum was discovered in Colombia in 1735, and the country has some of the most extensive deposits in the world. Platinum is found in the gold-bearing sands of the San Juan and Atrato river basins. The chief emerald-mining centers are the Muzo and Chivor mines. Other significant mineral products include lead, manganese, zinc, mercury, mica, phosphates, and sulfur. "Colombia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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