Decades ago, the Colombian emerald was associated with practices of informality, illegality and violence in Western Boyaca. The exploitation of these gems was carried out under controversial conditions that threatened the safety and well-being of the miners and the progress of the region, whom, due to the absence of state regulation, did not received the rightful benefits and royalties for the exploitation of these gems. These practices not only harmed the vegetal layer of the tropical rainforest and the formalization of the country’s mining projects, but also, in turn, due to the acts of violence and criminality, detracted the reputation of the emblematic gem of Colombia.
This state of rejection of the emerald industry would last until the end of 2009, when North American investors decided to participate in the business and benefit of the country, setting up what would be the first companies of The Muzo Companies Colombia: Minería Texas Colombia, MTC, and Colombiano Texas Transformadora, CTT, in charge of the extraction and industrial transformation of emeralds, respectively.
After four years of exploitation under a joint agreement with the then owner of the mining titles, Coexminas, and its controversial owner, Víctor Carranza, MTC assumed the leadership of the transformation of the mining industry, obtaining in 2013 all the rights of exploitation and state licenses on the Puerto Arturo emerald mine, known in the country for being the cradle, even before the Spanish colonization, of the most precious emeralds in the world. Recognized for their clarity, size and unique color, known internationally as “Muzo Green”, a bluish green tone that is only produced by the mines of the municipality which was named after.
Since their creation, MTC and CTT stood out for their firm commitment towards legality, transparency and traceability of their emeralds, complying the requirements of Colombian legislation, formal contracting and sustainable mining practices with the determination to guarantee the clarity of the operations and the correct treatment of the stones. This is how the Mine to Market business model was born: an operating structure which, in addition to generating an added commercial value to our stones, ensures from start to finish that the emeralds were extracted ethically and responsibly concerning the workforce, the communities, the environment and under strict compliance with the legal regulations of the Colombian State.
Thanks to this business model and especially to the expansion of our fields of action, MTC began the transition to three new companies as part of an organizational restructuring. From there were born: Esmeraldas Mining Services, EMS, company in charge of the mining operation, Colombian Shared Services, CSS, dedicated to the administrative support of the business group and the Muzo Foundation as promoter of social projects in the region. Simultaneously, CTT changed its corporate name to Esmeraldas de los Andes, EDLA, and one of the Corporate Social Responsibility projects managed since 2015 by MTC, was officially structured as a company and Furatena Cacao started, a social enterprise that markets and advises cocoa producers in the region. This process, which ended at late 2018, stablished what is currently known as The MUZO Companies Colombia, a business group of six Colombian companies that operate on each of the process of production value chain of the best emeralds in the world. After ten years of operation, the region of the previously relegated Western Boyaca, the emerald sector and the emerald itself, once again shines bright green with a more promising future, having fully recovered its heritage value, its essence and image within the Colombian society, becoming the country’s emblem and international ambassador just like Colombian coffee and flowers.