It might not be immediately apparent -- but the global mining sector just changed forever.
That's not because of a technical advance or a major discovery (yet). But rather a political event -- one that could open up the world's leading frontier for some of the most important global metals.
The place is Colombia. And the development is peace.
Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos agreed Wednesday with rebels from the FARC insurgent group on terms for ending their war. The key achievement being an accord on how to punish persons -- from both sides -- who committed war crimes during the fighting.
The agreement was one of the biggest parts of the FARC-government peace process. With both sides now saying that a full-blown laying down of arms will come within six months. Related: Oil Majors Sacrifice Production To Protect Dividends
In short, this is momentous. The FARC war is the longest-running civil insurgency in the world -- with roots dating back to 1948.
And -- as a footnote to the catastrophic human cost inflicted -- the fighting has held back minerals development in a place that has some of the world's most attractive geology.
Colombia lies at the northern end of the Andean Cordillera, producer of 39 percent of the world's copper -- along with 21 percent of molybdenum and 7 percent of gold supply. The country has largely the same rocks as Chile, Peru and Ecuador, yet produces almost none of these metals other than bullion. Related: Goldman Sachs: “Peak Coal” Is Here
But the prospects are tremendous. Porphyry copper-gold showings around Colombia are some of the largest and richest in the world. They've just never been open to development -- with the civil war being one of the major impediments.
But a peace deal could change that, much like the end of fighting did in Peru in the 1990s, leading to huge discoveries -- including the Pierina gold deposit, one of the world's largest and lowest-cost producers.
If you missed the opening of that prime ground, now may be a second chance in untrodden elephant country. Watch for the finalizing of the peace agreement over the next six months.
Here's to peace,
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