REWARDING SUCCESS

Colombia 2020 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

Believing that its success lies in its people, Gran Colombia Gold Corp. accordingly provides its employees with the best benefits according to international standards.

Lombardo Paredes
BIOGRAPHY

Lombardo Paredes holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and a master's in economic analysis and financial economics. He has over 20 years of corporate leadership and operations management experience in the resource sector in Latin America. During this career, he held several important roles within Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), such as vice president of public affairs and managing director and a board member of Maraven S.A., an affiliate of PDVSA. Since he assumed the role of CEO in 2014, Gran Colombia Gold Corp. has become the top gold producer company in Colombia.

Can you tell us more about your initiative to formalize illegal small-scale miners in Colombia?
We have 46 cooperatives for miners producing and complying with security, safety, and environmental aspects. We support them from a technical point of view, they serve us the material they produce, and we remunerate them according to international standards.

How have you managed in others way to have a positive impact on those communities?
We have a scholarship in place; the school is bilingual, and we meet the expenses (salary, house, food and transportation) of volunteer teachers. Currently, we have 475 students in the primary school and are set to open a secondary school shortly.

How is the company trying to reduce the use of mercury?
That was a problem arising from illegal mining, where the output was sold to small processing facilities. We use mercury to amalgamate the gold. In other cases, we buy material for the processing facility that does not use mercury. Currently, we are building a plant to recover zinc and lead to sell. It is a combination of an environmental project and a profitable one.

Gran Colombia Gold remains the largest producer of gold and silver in Colombia. What has been its strategy in the market?
This company was once on the verge of bankruptcy, and the key to its success has been its people. A company is its people, which is why we give our people the best benefits according to international standards. Second, we have financial discipline and, third, we strive to obtain all the environmental and social licensing or permits.

How was the company able to break its gold production record last year?
Gran Colombia Gold has been growing at a rate of 20% per year since 2014. Our production in 2014 was 90,000oz of gold between Segovia and Marmato and 240,000oz in 2019. Financial discipline has been a key issue, but our people are a key element in our success, as is the technology we utilize and our work with the local community. When we arrived in the territory, we grasped the situation of illegal mining and sought to work with those engaged in it. To date, we have signed with 44 mining units and have a small mining team in place dedicated to them. Other initiatives have to do with the issue of education, which is necessary for development, and that is where our scholarships come into play. We also have a training program for women to integrate them into the economy. Women who are heads of households, if they do not have a husband, have no way to support their children. For example, our security team is mostly made up of women, specifically single mothers. We have an alliance with The National Training Service (SENA) to provide proper training. We are also building a school with it and investing in other such initiatives.

What are your goals for 2020 and the upcoming years?
The main goal in Segovia concerns drilling and infrastructure, since we expect to find and extract. In Marmato, we expect to finalize it mid-2020 and then start building the new mine. We expect to have the first bar of gold by the end of 2022.