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1/31/19

AngloGold at Quebradona, Colombia

Kind of surprised that the news about AngloGold Ashanti being told to suspend all activities at its Quebradona project in Colombia (long story short, 11Bn lbs Cu at 0.6% and a robust economic mine plan) hasn't made more headlines. In effect, Quebradona is AngloGold's last big project in Colombia and all it has left after implementing a country strategy over the last couple of decades that will surely go down in history as one of the worst ever devised by a mining company. 

  • Dive in, stake off massive swathes of the country (they controlled concessions covering nearly 20% of all Colombia at one point) where anything looked remotely interesting (thereby choking off the country to others, fast growth potential stopped).
  • Consider it your God given right to land held by generations of Colombians, treat locals with off-scale arrogance.
  • Show complete non-understanding of political system, refusing to deal with any municipal or regional government, dealing instead with subservient national governments that wouldn't hesitate in offering your every whim despite not having a clue about what's going on locally.
  • Gradually realize the grave mistake when locals show that protests and regional election votes actaully mean something in Colombia. Try to roll back image and become touchy-feely but fail miserably because a) years of the arrogant Anglo cannot be erased and b) the new corporate sincerity is only skin-deep anyway.

Lose La Colosa. Driven out of other projects. And now Quebradona is teetering on the brink, which would mean 20 years of massive, multi-billion dollar programs come up with plain fat zero. Mind you, the way Colombia has turned out to be a perma-fubar place for the mining industry didn't help much.