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Project Information

  • Research Themes: Regional Metallogeny
  • Location: Colombia
  • Project Status: Active
  • Start Date: 2015

Colombia's mineral resource wealth is well-recognized and its potential to host world-class mineral deposits is supported by recent discoveries, such as La Colosa, Nuevo Chaquiro, Santa Rosa and San Matías projects. Improving political conditions with the signing of peace agreements with guerilla forces is seen as a major growth opportunity for the country to attract outside interest from exploration companies. The Colombian Geological Survey (Servicio Geológico Colombiano - SGC) has been increasing efforts to highlight the mineral resource potential of the country through the preparation of regional country-scale geophysical, geochemical, and mineral resources maps. MDRU is providing direct support to dedicated Colombian Geoscientist teams for the preparation of two of the key products of the Mineral Resources Direction (Direccion de Recursos Minerales - DRM) of the SGC: the Metallogenic Map of Colombia and the Geochemical Atlas of Colombia, as significant regional-scale tools to support the mineral exploration industry in the Country.

Within this collaborative initiative with the Colombian Geological Survey, the preparation of an updated version of the Metallogenic Map of Colombia (significantly updated from previous releases in 1976 and 1999), and the first Geochemical Atlas of Colombia are both recognized as significant milestones completed in 2016. MDRU’’s experience in integrated regional metallogenic and exploration geochemistry studies, along with its continuing research activities and experience in Colombia, emphasize the value of this collaborative project with SGC.

The main objectives of this collaboration agreement are:

  1. Provide and promote knowledge transfer between MDRU and SGC;
  2. Provide direct technical advice and support to the SGC for the preparation of the Metallogenic Map of Colombia; and
  3. Provide direct technical advice and support to the SGC for the preparation of the Geochemical Atlas of Colombia

The Metallogenic Map of Colombia

MDRU contribution for the preparation of the SGC Metallogenic Map of Colombia, comprised continuous direct support in the build-up, compilation and integration of a new SGC Mineral Deposit Database, as well as the interpretation and re-classification of regional country-scale  basic geological information recently published by the SGC (e.g., the Geological Map of Colombia, 2015, 2017; and Colombia’s Radiometric Ages Catalogue, 2015) to highlight regional tectonic and geological features and their relationship in space and time with the most significant mineral deposits and occurrences.

MDRU researchers’ expertise and previous experience in Colombia and regional metallogenic studies in other areas of the world are a significant contribution to the SGC effort to provide basic geological and metallogenic information and contribute to the mineral exploration industry and the development of the country.

The first updated version of the SGC Metallogenic Map of Colombia Scale 1:1,500,000 prepared within this collaboration agreement was finished in December 2016. It presented a compilation of the metallogenic information produced by different sources including the Colombian Government, Universities, Research Institutes and mining companies.


In 2017, the Metallogenic Map of Colombia project entered a second phase designed to conduct fieldwork and sampling in selected mineral deposits and occurrences for characterization and geochronological analysis to provide new ages for a more accurate definition of metallogenic epochs. This second phase, completed in December 2018, provides a new version of the map with important updates and improvements to the previous version.



The Geochemical Atlas of Colombia

MDRU also contributed to the preparation of the first SGC Geochemical Atlas of Colombia, providing direct support to the SGC geoscientists in all of the stages of the construction and preparation of the geochemical maps, including: training, data cleaning, validation, statistical analysis and leveling, in addition to editing and presentation of the final maps.




For this project, a subset of the SGC geochemical database, comprising >75,000 stream sediment analyses (covering approximately 35{4f68512a01b6c7d7b16fb2c0178fca0ea196e8717437457c5f4289110417847b} of the country) conducted by the SGC since the late 1960’s to present, were evaluated, levelled and interpreted to produce country-scale maps for 56 elements, highlighting regional geochemical trends and their relationship to geology, mineral deposits and occurrences, and/or anthropogenic activity.

Each set of maps included: a main map showing the distribution of element concentration on a 1km2 grid, accompanied by summary statistics; and supporting maps showing distribution of samples included or rejected, along with digestion, and analytical methods.

In 2017 this project entered in a second phase to update the element maps with additional geochemical information and prepare descriptive texts for each element with the interpretation of the most significant regional geochemical trends.

Map Products

Celada, C.M., Luengas, C., Velásquez, L., Prieto, D., Cáceres, A., Sepúlveda, J., López, J., Moyano, I., Prieto, G., Leal-Mejía, H., Jenkins, S., Bissig, T., Hart, C.J.R., 2016. Mapa Metalogénico de Colombia. Servicio Geológico Colombiano – MDRU-Mineral Deposit Research Unit, The University of British Columbia.

Perez Avila, A., Jiménez, J.F., Mendoza, O.H., Rincón, A.Y., Mendoza, O., Orejuela, C., Castellanos Sanabria, F., Prieto Rincón, G., Winterburn, P., Leal-Mejía, H., 2016, Atlas Geoquímico de ColombiaVersión 2016. Servicio Geológico Colombiano – MDRU-Mineral Deposit Research Unit, The University of British Columbia.

Posters and Presentations

Leal-Mejía, H., Winterburn, P., Jenkins, S., Hart, C.J.R.Bissig, T., Prieto, G., Moyano, I., Perez, A., Mendoza, O.G., López, J., Celada, C.M., Luengas, C., Velásquez, L., Prieto, D., Jiménez, J.F., Mendoza, O.H., Rincón, A., Sepúlveda, J., Orejuela, C., Castellanos, F., Fonseca, J.C., 2018. Metallogenic and Geochemical maps of Colombia: The MDRU-SGC Collaboration Agreement – A joint effort to produce high-quality country-scale maps. Poster presentation, AME RoundUp 2018, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Leal-Mejía, H., Celada C.M., Luengas, C., Velásquez, L., Prieto, D., Moyano, I., Prieto, G., López I., J. A., Sepúlveda, J., 2017. El Mapa Metalogénico de Colombia, Versión 2016 – Un avance en la compilación e integración de información reciente de los depósitos minerales del país y el conocimiento de los recursos del subsuelo. Oral presentation, XVI Colombian Geological Congress, August 28 – September 01 2017, Santa Marta, Colombia.

Leal-Mejía, H., Celada C.M., Luengas, C., Prieto, D., Velásquez, L., Cáceres, A.M., Sepúlveda, J., 2016. The Metallogenic Map of Colombia Project v. 2016: an updated vision of the Colombian metallogeny. Oral presentation, Colombian Geological Survey Symposium 100 years, July 2016, Bogotá, Colombia.

For more on the MDRU – Colombian Geological Survey (SGC) Collaboration Agreement or other MDRU Colombia Metallogeny projects, please contact Hildebrando Leal-Mejía or Craig J.R. Hart

Project sponsors