According to MPX chief executive officer Eduardo Karrer, who was quoted by Bloomberg on Friday, the company is currently negotiating contracts to sell coal from its Colombian operations and could make supply deal announcements in the first half of 2012.
“We have expectations of having thermal coal of very good quality, which would guarantee us steady sales of these products in the international market,” Karrer reportedly told the news service.
“Colombia will increase its coal exports by a lot.”
MPX did not indicate the potential buyers with which it is negotiating.
Last month company executive Ricardo Gaviria reportedly told Dow Jones Newswires that MPX would spend about $US3 million through 2016 to increase production at up to four coal mines in Colombia which could start producing during the last quarter of next year.
The company aims to produce about 200,000 tons at the end of next year and ramp up to 1.7 million tons in 2013.
Coal production is expected to be at full throttle by 2014, he told the news service at a conference, and will realize 35Mt by 2020.
MPX, owned by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, has been working on four coal mining projects in its La Guajira concessions in Colombia over the past several years.
The open cut Caverales and Papayal projects host 40Mt of coal while the San Juan underground project has 1.6 billion tons, according to MPX’s website.
The San Juan project is evidently a proposed longwall mine, with an image on the company website showing a computer-generated picture of a longwall face featuring a shearer and powered roof supports.
Other coal players in Colombia include BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Drummond and Glencore International.
According to government statistics, Colombian coal production this year is expected to total 85-90Mt, versus 2010’s production of 76Mt.
Most of Colombia’s operations are open pit and significant rain totals last year were cited for the reduced production.
Colombia is the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter.