Colombia will mine 40Mt in 2H: official

COLOMBIA’s coal mining ministry is reportedly projecting at least 40 million tons of output in the second half of this year despite expected inclement weather in later months.
Colombia will mine 40Mt in 2H: official Colombia will mine 40Mt in 2H: official Colombia will mine 40Mt in 2H: official Colombia will mine 40Mt in 2H: official Colombia will mine 40Mt in 2H: official


Donna Schmidt

Mining minister Carlos Rodado told Dow Jones Newswires last week that the 40Mt goal was similar to actual production of 40.6Mt realized in the first six months of 2011.

“The second half of the year is usually more favourable," he said.

“Production should not be below 40 million tons.”

According to Ingeominas, Colombia’s industry regulator, the year’s first-half performance was nearly the same as that in 2010 due to heavy rains suffered last year. Open pit coal operations are the primary producers for the country.

The heavy rain conditions also extended into 2011, which Rodado told Dow Jones will make it more difficult for reach its 85Mt to 90Mt whole-year output projection.

“We have to wait and see how the rains affect us,” he told the paper of 2011’s final half.

Colombia produced 76Mt whole-year in 2010.

The country is one of the top coal producing countries in the world and is also the fourth-largest exporter. Major players in Colombia include BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Drummond and Glencore International.

In July, Brazilian energy company MPX said it would enter the operations fold, reportedly aiming to start producing from up to four coal mines during the last quarter of next year.

MPX executive Ricardo Gaviria told Dow Jones Newswires last month that MPX would spend about $US3 billion through 2016 to increase production.

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 and will realize 35Mt by 2020, he told the news service at a conference.

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.