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UPDATE: Drummond to resume coal exports

World Coal,

The Colombian government has said that it expects Drummond to resume exports of coal from the 24th March, as the company is set to finish a US$ 350 million upgrade to its port to meet new environmental legislation.

Force majeure

The government closed the port in January after the new law, which bans the use of cranes and barges to load boats, took effect. As a result of the port closure, Colombia’s coal exports fell by approximately a third, and Drummond had to declare a force majeure.

"On the 24th of this month [March], Drummond's port should enter into service. There are ships on their way already and which will be at the port by this date," Mines and Energy Minister, Amylkar Acosta, told reporters.

Colombia coal production

Colombia’s coal production has suffered after a year of logistics and labour strife, causing production to drop 4% to 85.5 million t in 2013, below its target of 89 million t.

Reuters reported that when asked about the minister's comments, a source at Drummond said the company was holding to its estimate of the end of March to complete works at the port and resume exports.

Conveyor belt loading system

Drummond was unable to finish building the new conveyor belt loading system before the law took effect, and has not shipped coal since the start of January.

European coal market prices initially increased on the news, however have begun to ease again for April delivery contracts in anticipation that Drummond's shipments will resume soon.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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