Mar. 9, 2020


Lombardo Paredes

Colombia

Lombardo Paredes

CEO, Gran Colombia Gold

“The only successful initiative in Colombia for formalizing small or illegal miners is that of Gran Colombia Gold.”

BIO

Lombardo Paredes was born in Venezuela in March 3, 1945. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Economic Analysis and Financial Economics. He brings to his position 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 Vicepresident of Public Affairs. He was responsible for regional planning of investments and social development for Eastern Venezuela, and was Managing Director and a Board Member of Maraven S.A. (an affiliate of PDVSA), with responsibility for the construction and commissioning of the Cardon Refinery Conversion Project in Venezuela, a USD2.6 billion project and was General Manager of its Production Operations Division, with 5,000 employees and oil production of 800 KBbls per day. Since he assumed the role of CEO in Gran Colombia Gold Corp. In 2014, the production has raised from 103,000 to 240,000 ounces in the past four years, and Gran Colombia Gold Corp has become the first underground gold producer company in Colombia.


You have created an initiative to formalize illegal small-scale miners in Colombia. Can you tell us a more about it?

The only successful initiative in Colombia for formalizing small or illegal miners is that of Gran Colombia Gold. 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 primary school and are shortly set to open a secondary school.

The company is also trying to reduce the use of mercury, correct?

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. Nowadays, we are building a plant to recover zinc and lead to sell. Our is, therefore, a combination of an environmental project and a profitable one.

The company is still the largest producer of gold and silver in Colombia. What has been the strategy in the market?

This company was once on the verge of bankruptcy and the key to 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 comply to obtain all environmental and social licensing or permits.

You broke your gold production record last year. Could you please explain how you achieved this?

The company has been growing at a rate of 20% per year since 2014. Our production in 2014 was 90,000 ounces of gold between Segovia and Marmato and in 2019 was 240,000 ounces. 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 determined to work with those engaged in it. The initiative was created, and 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 basic 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 that are heads of households who, if they don't have a husband, have no way to support their children. For example, our security team is mostly made up of women, single mothers, for example. We have an alliance with The National Training Service (SENA) that helps us to provide proper training. We are also building a school with them and investing in other such initiatives.

What are your goals for 2020?

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

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