Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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While new Colombia President Gustavo Petro broadly demonizes energy and mining companies -- and pushed a new law eliminating royalty tax deductions -- ironically a growing number of copper, gold and silver-mining companies here are confounding Petro’s rhetoric with eco-friendly, people-friendly, economy-boosting and more-transparent projects.

At the seventh edition of the annual “CGS Colombia” symposium here in Medellin on November 8-9 – attracting a record 350 delegates -- numerous companies touted remarkable progress in “green” and “people-oriented” metals-mining projects.

In several proposed and existing projects, mining companies successfully -- even amazingly – have convinced harsh and skeptical mining critics actually to become project defenders.

One of the most astounding examples is that of the proposed Zancudo mining project in Antioquia, where the local Mayor, City Council members and most of the local residents had originally opposed that project, citing fears of water-quality degradation and potentially broader social problems.

But as Zancudo Metals executive Nicolas Lopez explained here, a concerted, years-long educational-outreach effort completely reversed this opposition, resulting in the very same political leaders and 95% of the local population now endorsing an eco-friendly project, which will avoid historically “dirty” mining schemes that (for example) had dumped toxic mercury and cyanide.

Similarly, the AngloGold/B2 Gold “Gramalote” gold-mining project in Antioquia also flipped historic, widespread opposition to this project to endorsement by 90% of locals, thanks to rigorous environmental studies, “green” project features and vigorous community outreach, including community-development and economic-development projects, as Gramalote executive Juan David Ramirez explained here.

However, AngloGold and B2 Gold just announced this month that, unfortunately, the project no longer meets their companies’ financial goals. So the US$925 million project is up-for-sale.

Despite these notably “green” and “people-friendly” projects, today’s anti-mining political climate – exacerbated by Petro – makes it hard to imagine new mining licenses being granted here in the next few years, as mining-industry consultant Hernan Rodriguez contended in a panel-discussion here.

For some companies that can afford to wait-out the next four years of Petro, or (optionally) sell their licenses to more-optimistic third parties, or successfully maintain eco-friendly, positive relations with local communities, this picture might not seem so bleak.

Even so, those companies sticking-it-out need to have a robust regulatory compliance program “to avoid losing your license,” as mining consultant Alejandro Ramirez warned here.

On the other hand, as CGS Colombia founder and chairman Paul Harris explained here, “there’s no reason for the mining sector to be overly fearful” for the future -- or at least a future as might be applied to the metals-mining sub-sector.

Today’s widely-acknowledged, growing movement away from coal, oil and natural gas – seen as principal “global warming” threats – should stir much-greater support for “eco-friendly” mining of certain metals crucial to the transition to “green” electric power and “green” transportation, Harris noted.

So while Petro and others are broadly railing against energy and mining companies -- in political forums such as the COP-27 global-warming conference in Egypt this month -- and while social-media twits spew vituperative rhetoric in all directions, the metals-mining sectors actually should see themselves calmly playing a key role in the “green” transition, Harris pointed-out here.

With Petro claiming to push goals such as poverty reduction, climate-change avoidance and trimming of Colombia’s crushing national debt, metals-mining companies actually can be seen aligning with his goals, he explained.

“It’s almost a duty for Petro to support Colombian copper,” he added, citing five new Colombian copper-drilling projects already proposed or underway here.

Buy-in by local populations and local governments for any development project is also a top Petro priority, he noted. “This could be key to unlocking projects,” Harris emphasized.

While some government officials want to see a revised, tougher Colombian mining code – which could snarl and delay beneficial projects for years – this seems unlikely as Petro’s main priorities now are tax reform, health-system reform, pension reform and labor reforms, all of which will take time -- and eventually exhaust Petro’s political capital in Colombia’s multiparty, divided Congress, he added.

As Colombia Risk Analysis analyst Sergio Guzman added here, changing the mining code “is not a priority” as compared to Petro’s other, more-urgent priorities.

Actually, “what’s most important to Petro is symbols,” such as pushing “change,” showing “strength,” being “green” and perhaps most of all, viciously attacking former center-right President Alvaro Uribe, ironically the most popular Colombian president in history.

Meanwhile, Petro’s fragile coalition in the Colombian Congress this month just slashed his unpopular, initial COP$50 trillion (US$10.2 billion) tax-hike legislation to COP$20 trillion (US$4 billion) and likewise is expected to hobble or delay other “reform” proposals, Guzman explained.

What’s more, the upcoming October 2023 elections would seem likely to spur a broad anti-Petro backlash, as Colombians are suffering heavy inflation, recession and currency-devaluation problems.

As a result of a sour national economic outlook, Petro’s disapproval ratings already have soared and his approval ratings likewise have plunged to only 46% -- just three months into his four-year term.

Petro’s similarly bombastic, chaotic earlier term as a Bogota Mayor likewise produced mediocre results, including irrational blame-shifting schemes that flipped 65 cabinet secretaries though 19 positions in just four years.

“He’s not a good administrator,” Guzman explained here. “Will he learn to compromise? It’s not his favorite thing to do. He wants power. If the October 2023 elections are bad for Petro, that will make him even more frustrated.

“He can’t pack the courts [as the Colombian Constitution prevents him from sidestepping Congress] and that will lead to stalemate and brinksmanship. He’s also facing fiscal and current account deficits -- and the tax reform won’t fix that.”

If Petro instead tries to impose populist price controls, new subsidies and bring import tariffs, then that will only worsen deficits and cause new scarcities, provoking consumer/voter anger, he explained.

Meanwhile, Petro’s proposed “total peace” plan with the narco-terrorist ELN, re-FARC and “Clan del Golfo” groups seems dubious as many of these actors “don’t negotiate in good faith,” Guzman added.

Bottom line: mining companies here need to avoid “getting between Petro and his symbols,” and instead should seek to promote and emphasize eco-friendly, people-friendly, economically friendly and transparent projects that (at least notionally) align with Petro’s main goals, he concluded.


Colombia’s new Finance Minster Jose Antonio Campo on August 8 unveiled a 130-page tax proposal to the national Congress -- aiming to boost tax collections by COP$25 trillion (US$5.8 billion) next year, then gradually increasing each of the following three years, hitting COP$50 trillion (US$11.58 billion) by 2026.

The proposed scheme generally follows promises made by Colombia’s newly sworn-in President Gustavo Petro to boost taxes on wealthier individuals and corporations, as well as producers of hydrocarbons and minerals (mainly oil, gas, coal and gold), new taxes on unhealthy sugary drinks and foods, on waste plastics, on profitable stock dividends, and reductions in many current tax exemptions.

If approved by Congress, the new scheme aims to slash income inequality and drastically reduce poverty levels at a rate nine-times that of prior tax-and-spending reforms over the past 14 years, according to Campo.

“The progress that the country has had in terms of health and education coverage, among others, must be maintained and accelerated to heal a deteriorated social fabric,” Campo states in the tax proposal.

“This tax reform project aims to advance fundamentally in two dimensions. First, by reducing the inequitable exemptions enjoyed by individuals with higher incomes and some companies, as well as closing avenues for tax evasion and avoidance,” he added.

A new “wealth tax” (patrimony) --considered by many nations including the U.S. as counter-productive -- would hit people with liquid assets exceeding COP$3 billion (US$695,000), generating about COP$2.66 trillion (US$616 million ) in extra revenues next year. The principal residence would be excluded from the “patrimony” calculation, but second-homes and vacation-homes would be included.

Workers and business owners with incomes exceeding COP$10 million (US$2,315) monthly would be hit by higher income taxes, generating an extra COP$5.45 trillion (US$1.26 billion) in revenues in 2023.

Higher corporate income taxes would bring-in an extra COP$5.1 trillion (US$1.18 billion) next year, while higher taxes on hydrocarbons and minerals (including gold) would bring-in another COP$7 trillion (US$1.6 billion) extra next year.

New carbon taxes (the CO2 emitted by burning hydrocarbons) would net another COP$2.5 trillion (US$579 million), while taxes on sugary drinks and high-sugar-content processed foods would add another COP$2.2 trillion (US$510 million) in new revenue, according to the proposal.

While higher taxes on higher-wage workers and higher-income business people would dampen their spending, transfers of these higher taxes to poorer people would result an a “marginally positive” boost to gross domestic product (GDP) “in the coming years,” according to Campo.

“Distortions that could derive from the increase in effective tax burdens would be mitigated by the positive effects of the use of these resources in greater transfers to households of low income and an increase in public investment,” he claimed.

As for the net impact on poorer populations, simulation-studies indicate that “the gain in welfare of the first four years -- defined as the sum of the utilities for each year, brought to present value -- would be equivalent to increasing the current consumption of these poorer households by 7.5%.

“In contrast, this reform would decrease the welfare of higher-income households, on account of the higher tax burden they would face, although the effects would be minor compared to the gain in well-being of lower-income households.”

Meanwhile, “the incidence of monetary poverty would be reduced by 3.9 percentage-points, reflecting a fall of 10% in the total population living in poverty, while extreme poverty would decrease by 4 percentage points, which would represent a percentage decrease of 32.4% of the population living in extreme poverty in 2021,” according to the proposal.

Meanwhile, the tax-revenue transfers to poorer populations would cut the current “Gini” index of inequality by “nine times the average annual reduction of the last 14 years,” he said.

Colombia Former VP German Vargas Lleras Responds

In an opinion column published in Colombia’s biggest daily newspaper (El Tiempo), former Colombia Vice-President German Vargas Lleras sees serious issues with certain parts of the proposed tax reform.

“I am concerned that with the introduction of new taxes and the increase in some rates we will continue to deepen our loss of competitiveness, the outflow of capital will continue and it will not be possible to attract new investment, either local or foreign,” Vargas Lleras states.

“I had the opportunity to present to the appointed Finance Minister my concern about the return of non-technical taxes such as wealth. To this is added the increase in the tax on dividends and occasional profits by 100% and the dismantling of the discount in the ICA [industrial/commercial tax deductions] and the creation of new taxes such as those proposed for the mining-energy sectors, among others . . .

“How are we going to guarantee our energy security? With what does the [Petro government] think to replace the enormous income [from state oil company Ecopetrol] that just in this first half of 2022 represented US$16 billion [in government revenues] and is 54% of all our exports?”


Colombia’s Controller-General announced today (January 28) that because of recent insurance payments to EPM by Mapfre, Axxa, Suramericana and SBS – collectively totaling US$1.1 billion -- all companies, politicians and officials who previously faced allegations of errors or omissions that supposedly contributed to a 2018 diversion-tunnel collapse at the US$5 billion Hidroituango hydroelectric project are now absolved of fiscal responsibility.

“The Controller's Office declares the property damage of COP$4.3 trillion [US$1.1 billion] in the Hidroituango case fully repaired,” according to the Controller’s official announcement.

“By virtue of this decision, the precautionary measures that weighed on those declared fiscally responsible are lifted” -- hence liberating 26 companies and individuals that previously were facing fiscal responsibility charges, according to the Controller.

Because of the Hidroituango insurance payments, the Controller “determined and declared that the damage has been fully repaired,” according to the official announcement.

In the wake of the Controller’s decision, Wall Street bond rater Fitch Ratings subsequently announced that it now sees financial liquidity improving not only for EPM (part-owner of Hidroituango) but also for the construction and consulting contractors at the Hidroituango project.

While Fitch now has a more positive view of EPM’s financial liquidity, the bond rater nevertheless has continued its “negative watch” alert because of “continued uncertainty regarding the permanent closure of Hidroituango's blocked water deviation tunnel since April 28, 2018, and final cost overruns of its Hidroituango project, which Fitch estimates to be US$1.73 billion or US$721,000 per megawatt (MW) as of December 2021. 

Hidroituango Progress Update

Immediately following the Controller’s announcement, EPM revealed that it is making significant progress on permanent closure of that collapsed diversion tunnel.

“In 2019, as a result of the tunnel-collapse contingency, the two floodgates installed for this diversion tunnel -- weighing 300 tons each -- were closed to prevent further passage of water,” according to EPM’s announcement.

“In recent days it became possible to enter the [collapsed] Auxiliary Deviation Gallery (GAD), very positive for the recovery of the project and for the tranquility of the downstream communities.

“With the pumping-out of the water that was in this tunnel area, it was possible to allow entry of sufficient personnel and machinery to carry out the proper cleaning and extraction of debris and mud. After the adaptation and cleaning of the GAD, the construction of the two definitive plugs -- 22 meters long -- will need to be installed there,” according to EPM.

In total, the Hidroituango project at year-end 2021 was 86.9% complete, with entry-into-operation of the first two generating units -- totalling 600-MW -- seen in the second half of 2022, according to EPM.

“The powerhouse shows considerable progress in its recovery, civil works and assembly of equipment,” according to EPM, while the water reservoir upstream of the dam and the engineered spillway “are closely monitored with permanent with special equipment and expert personnel,” the company added.


Medellin officially confirmed today (January 13) that it will switch to a two-digit “pico y placa” driving restriction scheme – from 5 am to 8 pm daily -- starting Monday, January 17, initially for a “pedagogic” period, until January 31.

Cars with plate numbers ending in 6 or 9 are restricted starting Monday, switching to numbers 2 and 3 on Tuesday, and so on (see chart, above).

Area Metropolitana de Valle de Aburra (AMVA, the metro-Medellin government coordinating agency) actually announced the new policy, indicating that the other neighboring municipalities north and south of Medellin likewise aim to adopt this scheme.

Initially, vehicles traveling on Las Palmas highway and the La 33 connection to Avenida Regional, plus the entire length of Avenida Regional, plus the La Iguana highway and its laterals (between Carrera 63 and Carrerra 80) will be exempted from controls, as will rural areas of Medellin, according to the announcement.


Colombia President Ivan Duque announced last night (December 6) that starting December 14, most international travelers 18-years-and-older to Colombia must present proof of COMPLETE vaccinations against Covid-19 – in part to help thwart the latest threat from the Omicron variant.

Following that announcement, Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced this morning (December 7) that anyone failing to show proof of full vaccinations must in the alternative present proof of a negative result from the highly accurate PCR test within 72 hours of boarding a flight to Colombia.

According to a separate December 6 announcement from Colombia’s Transport Ministry, Colombia expects to receive more than 1.2 million international passengers during the holiday season (from December 1 to January 10).

Meanwhile, all international or domestic travelers must fill-out the “CheckMig” application, and be in the airport three hours before any international flight or two hours before an in-country flight, according to the Ministry.

Colombian nationals and permanent residents must show that they have completed their Covid vaccinations at least 14 days prior to their flight, or else show a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of the flight.  Non-resident tourists to Colombia must have at least one shot and a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of the flight.

Once arriving here in Colombia, starting December 14, a new Ministry regulation requires all persons 18 years and older to show proof of COMPLETE vaccination in order to enter certain commercial or public spaces where “mass gatherings” occur. That includes bars, restaurants, cinemas, discoteques, concerts, casinos, sports events, amusement parks, museums and fairs, according to the Health Ministry.

Starting December 28, the same proof of complete vaccination applies to those 12 years and older, according to the Ministry.

Meanwhile, Colombia is fast approaching 60 million total vaccinations against Covid-19, with some 59.5 million already expected to have been vaccinated by the end of today (December 7), according to the Ministry. That means 70% of Colombians have gotten at least one shot -- far better than most other nations, and even matching that of the "advanced" United States.


Sinpro – the trade union representing most employees of Medellin-based utility giant EPM – and Cámara Colombiana de Infraestructura Seccional Antioquia (CCI-SA) announced December 5 that they have filed a lawsuit in a Cundinamarca Administrative Tribunal seeking to stop Colombia’s Controller-General from enforcing a COP$4.3 trillion (US$1.08 billion) fine that inevitably would delay construction of the US$5 billion Hidroituango hydroelectric project.

The EPM trade union and CCI-SA (which represents Antioquia’s infrastructure companies) say in their lawsuit that the Controller’s decision – if upheld by Colombia’s Council of State – will result in terminating the existing Hidroituango construction contracts, causing construction delays of at least another six to 12 months -- costing EPM an estimated COP$5.5 trillion (US$1.38 billion) in lost power sales and possibly threatening Hidroituango's very existence.

That COP$5.5 trillion loss would come in addition to the new loss of what had been favorable Hidroituango financing terms, as the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) just cancelled a US$450 million loan because of the Controller’s decision.

On a related front, former Antioquia Governor Sergio Fajardo just filed a separate lawsuit suit before an Interamerican Commission on Human Rights tribunal to overturn the Controller’s decision, claiming that the decision arose from the Controller’s own political corruption conspiracies.

Meanwhile, Sinpro and CCI-SA are asking the Cundinamarca court to suspend the Controller’s action until Hidroituango reaches full power capacity, now expected in 2025.

They also ask the court to block any move by the Controller that could result in future payments from project insurer Mapfre being given to the city of Medellin (currently directed by Hidroituango political critic Mayor Daniel Quintero) rather than to EPM for Hidroituango construction costs.


Colombia’s Controller-General (Contraloria General de la Nacion, CGR) announced this morning (November 26) finalization of CGR’s earlier-proposed COP$4.3 trillion (US$1.07 billion) fine against 28 individuals, politicians, insurers and companies that allegedly are responsible for the 2018 collapse of a diversion tunnel at the US$5 billion “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project in Antioquia.

The CGR’s final decision ironically came just hours after Hidroituango developer EPM publicly announced a tentative deal with its current construction contractors to continue building the project for at least another eight to 12 months -- all in order to ensure start-up of the first two generating units (out of a total eight) as planned and expected for late 2022.

However, the CGR fine presumably would require the contractors to abandon the project -- pending final confirmation by Colombia’s Council of State – potentially causing chaos and enormously costly delays in finalizing construction, which is already way-over the initial budget (roughly estimated at US$3 billion) and almost four years behind its initially scheduled start-up.

EPM’s latest forecast indicates that all eight generating units won’t be operating until 2025, with gradual, additional generating-unit start-ups in 2023 and 2024.

The CGR’s now-finalized charges of “gross negligence” hit construction companies Camargo Correa SA, Constructora Conconcreto and Coninsa Ramon H SA, as well as project designers and consultants including Integral SA, Ferrovial Agroman Chile, Sainc Ingenieros, Ingetec and Sedic.

Also hit by the charges are former Antioquia Governors Sergio Fajardo and Luis Alfredo Ramos, former Medellin Mayor Fabio Alonso Salazar, and several former EPM executives and former Hidroituango project board members.

Acquitted of a previous CGR charge of culpability is current (and former) Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria. However, the CGR now reinstates previously exempted culpability charges against project insurers Mapfre and Suramericana.

Given the latest addition of those two companies, the CGR charges now hit 28 different persons and companies.

While the CGR announcement doesn’t explicitly say how the total US$1.07 billion fine would be split among the parties, if it were to be portioned equally, then (theoretically, at least) every person and company each would be responsible for about US$38 million.

Meanwhile, EPM on November 25 had announced a “comprehensive preliminary agreement with the representatives of the CCCI [construction-contractor] consortium in charge of the main works in the Hidroituango hydroelectric project,” according to its press bulletin.

“This comprehensive pre-agreement will allow the contract, which expires on December 31 [2021], to be extended by eight more months from January 1, 2022, plus three months” to help guide new construction contractors during a contract hand-over period.

“The extension of the contract between EPM and the construction consortium CCCI would make it possible to guarantee the continuity of the works in the future hydroelectric plant and comply with the schedules foreseen for the start of the commercial operation of the first two power generation units in the second half of 2022. Both EPM and the CCCI consortium will carry out additional internal procedures that are necessary before signing the [final contract-extension] agreement,” according to EPM.


Colombia’s Health Ministry and President Ivan Duque jointly announced November 19 that starting December 1, 2021, people over 18 years old must show proof of COMPLETE Covid-19 vaccination in order to enter most places of mass gatherings.

The upcoming mandate -- a stricter version that replaces the existing mandate, which today only requires partial (one-shot) vaccinations -- specifically hits bars, cinemas, discotheques, dance venues, concerts, casinos, bingo halls, leisure activities, sports venues, amusement and theme parks, museums and fairs, according to the Ministry.

Also hit by the new mandate: hotel mass events (such as conferences), but not individual hotel-room stays. As a result, proof-of-vaccination “must be requested for private events, receptions or similar” but “not required for [individual] hosting services,” according to the rule.

To help explain the new rules, the Ministry posted this internet question-and-answer document (in Spanish), see: https://twitter.com/hashtag/CertificadoDigitalDeVacunaci%C3%B3n?src=hashtag_click.

Since last year, Colombia started issuing a standard “MiVacuna” proof-of-vaccination card to all receiving Covid-19 shots here.

However, people from other countries visiting Colombia and attending now-restricted mass events can likewise show other Covid-19 vaccination cards or electronic documents as issued by their home countries, according to the Ministry.

Commercial and public places hit by the new rule must request proof-of-vaccinations “as a requirement of entry to face-to-face events of a public or private nature that involve massive attendance,” according to the Ministry.

“The Ministry of Health in coordination with the Ministry of the Interior may extend this measure to other activities or sectors, in accordance with the evolution of the pandemic against Covid-19 and the progress of the national vaccination plan,” according to the document.

While children ages zero to 12 are exempted, those older than 12 also must show proof of vaccination starting November 30, 2021, according to the Ministry.

Either paper or digital proof-of-vaccination cards will be accepted.

Houses of religious worship won’t be hit by the mandate for ordinary services, but will be hit for weddings, funeral services or similar mass events, according to the document.

As for shopping centers, proof-of-vaccination “will only be requested in spaces where public or private events are held, as in the cinema area, or at theme parks,” according to the Ministry.

As for residential complexes, routine entries aren’t hit by the mandate, but “meetings that are held in the social or communal rooms of the residential complexes” are hit. “Likewise, in any event that takes place in the common areas such as social gatherings or celebration of novenas,” such residential complexes must require proofs-of-vaccinations.


EPM general manager Jorge Andres Carrillo revealed in a press conference here this morning (October 27) that it’s at least theoretically possible that the current Hidroituango construction contractors might continue their work well into 2022.

But that possibility of a temporary contract extension into 2022 remains to be confirmed, pending results of a follow-up meeting with the CCC Hidroituango consortium next week, Carrillo explained.

The driving factor is the expectation that Colombia’s Comptroller-General eventually will confirm its proposed COP$4.3 trillion (US$1.15 billion) fine against the construction contractors, part of a group of 26 individuals, companies and politicians named in the Comptroller’s lawsuit.

If the Comptroller confirms its charges, then the current contractors must abandon the Hidroituango project, under Colombian law.

However, the Comptroller’s expected final ruling is currently blocked by a 29th Circuit Court decision in Bogota, which arose from a counter-claim brought by one of the 26 defendants. That defendant is María Eugenia Ramos Villa, a former official in the administration of prior Antioquia Governor Sergio Fajardo.

Fajardo, along with the construction contractors and other former politicians, faces the same Comptroller allegations of “gross negligence” that supposedly caused a costly diversion-tunnel collapse at Hidroituango in 2018.

If however the Comptroller succeeds in overturning the 29th Circuit Court ruling before the December 31, 2021 expiration of the current Hidroituango construction contracts, then EPM will have to rush to seek replacement contractors -- with potentially enormous costs from resulting construction delays.

Such delays potentially could wind-up costing EPM hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, if expected counter-suits by the sacked contractors eventually prosper in some future court proceedings.

Since EPM has long expected that the Comptroller’s proposed fines eventually would be confirmed, Carrillo revealed that EPM has been working for more than one-year on a “plan B” to find replacement contractors.

So far, seven potential companies have shown relatively keen interest in bidding, but signing contracts with any such replacements will take many months, via a complex public-bidding process, he clarified.

Meanwhile, in a filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera oversight agency this morning, EPM revealed details of last night’s (October 26) meeting with the CCC Hidroituango Consortium, where the parties explored alternative schemes that potentially could reduce construction delays from an eventual switch of contractors.

However, in that meeting, the Consortium flatly rejected the idea of assigning their existing contracts to some new contractors.

Instead, EPM and the Consortium will try to come-up with some interim scheme whereby the contractors supposedly would continue building Hidroituango for some months in 2022 while (somehow) also cooperating with EPM’s replacement contractors – that is, assuming that the Comptroller’s final ruling will indeed be adverse to the existing contractors, and that this ruling isn’t quickly overturned by some other court proceeding.

On another front, the majority owners of the Hidroituango project – that is, the Antioquia departmental government and its development agency, IDEA – unveiled an October 26 letter to EPM, demanding that EPM pay any and all costs of switching contractors.

This could wind up costing EPM hundreds of millions of dollars on top of all the other potential costs of switching contractors, including the possibility of insurance claim denials and possible loss of US$450 million in finance from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).

What’s more, continuing delays in finishing the Hidroituango project theoretically could provoke an eventual, catastrophic event at the dam, since the spillway – currently handling the entire Cauca River flow – wasn’t designed specifically to handle such massive flows indefinitely, according to the departmental government’s complaint.

Despite all these threats, Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero this morning stated in a separate press conference that while EPM will continue to seek new contractors and pursue claims against Hidroituango project insurer Mapfre, the insurance policy wouldn’t cover costs for some unplanned diversion tunnels, some costly reinforcement works, portions of four-years of lost power sales, nor about US$200 million in deductibles.

As a result, the Mayor will continue with its parallel US$2.35 billion lawsuit against the contractors, in a separate proceeding to the Comptroller claims, he said.


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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

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