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Cerrejon working to fix rail

COLOMBIA’S largest coal supplier, the open-pit Cerrejon complex, said a railroad leading from its property that was reportedly sabotaged over the weekend by guerrilla fighters could be repaired Tuesday.

Donna Schmidt
Cerrejon working to fix rail

According to Bloomberg, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – also known as FARC – are attacking energy infrastructure in the country in response to increased military attacks including one that took the life of Alfonso Cano, a rebel leader.

Cerrejon sustainability director Julian Gonzalez told the news service shortly after the December 17 incident that the blast could jeopardize production targets, but spokesman Julian Gonzales said Monday local time that mining was not interrupted and that the mine is drawing on port inventories while the rail line is being fixed.

Security in the country had reportedly improved as of late, helping to draw in natural resource investments by billionaires such as Carlos Sim and Eike Batista.

Gonzalez told Bloomberg that FARC “wants to show they aren’t finished”

“This has been the hardest ever year for Cerrejon,” he added, citing the attacks – several foiled attempts have been logged to date this year – as well as inclement weather.

The poor weather, specifically high rainfall, has also impacted other large mines in the South American country including those owned by Glencore and the Drummond-Itochu venture, National Federation of Coal Producers president Jaime Olivella told the wire earlier this month.

Cerrejon, the world’s largest open-pit export coal mine, is expected to come in under its target production of 32.5 million metric tons in 2011, primarily due to stoppages forced by the weather.

Colombia, the country’s largest coal supplier, is projected to produce 75 million to 80 million metric tons this year, falling short of an 85 million metric ton forecast by the government, Bloomberg said.

Cerrejon is a joint venture owned equally by BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata.

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