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Colombian output slips 4%

World Coal,

According to the National Mining Agency, Colombia produced 85.5 million t of coal in 2013, a 4% decrease from 2013. The drop took output below target and reflected a combination of strikes at Colombia’s top two mining companies as well as logistics disruption.

Colombia is the world’s fourth largest coal exporter, and is struggling to move forward from disruption faced last year after the government shut down Drummond’s port over a failure to comply with a new environmental law in January this year. Drummond is expected to resume exports in late March.

Coal royalties

Royalties earned from coal totalled 1.2 trillion pesos (US$ 585.3 million) in Q4 2013, compared with 1.6 trillion in the same period of 2012, a drop the National Mining Agency explained was partly also due to lower prices.

The agency did not offer a figure for total royalties earned in the year or a coal production forecast for 2014.

However, despite the year-on-year drop, output increased 18% in the final quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. This was largely due to the fourth quarter being free of strike action or significant logistics disruption.

Drummond situation

The Colombian government ordered Drummond to shut down its port in early January after missing the January 1 deadline to switch to conveyor belt loading and end a more polluting practice of loading ships with cranes and barges.

Drummond, which produces approximately one third of Colombia's coal, expects to finish building its conveyor loader by late March, although a senior government mining official has said the company complete the installation sooner.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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