Drummond Co., Colombia’s second- biggest thermal coal producer, will restart exports after the government ended a three-week ban on loading operations.
Authorities will continue an estimated four-month investigation into a Jan. 12-13 incident in which Drummond dumped material to prevent a barge from sinking, said Luz Helena Sarmiento, director of environmental licensing agency ANLA. Sarmiento, who suspended Drummond’s license Feb. 6 until it improved contingency measures, said barges won’t be permitted next year.
“The new contingency plan meets with technical conditions,” Sarmiento told reporters today in Bogota. “The restart of exports doesn’t mean the end of investigation, to determine if it was an accident or negligence.”
Colombia, South America’s largest supplier of coal, is losing 6 billion pesos ($3.3 million) of public revenue per day after operations were suspended at three coal complexes, Javier Garcia, head of corporate mining at the Mining and Energy Ministry, said in an interview Feb. 27. Workers began a strike Feb. 7 at the Cerrejon mine owned by BHP Billiton Plc (BLT), Xstrata Plc (XTA) and Anglo American Plc (AAL), while the operating contract at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s La Francia mine was terminated, Garcia said.
Birmingham, Alabama-based Drummond has reserves for more than two billion tons and shipped about 29 million tons of coal in 2011, according to the company’s website. Paulo Gonzalez, a Drummond spokesman in Birmingham, didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.
Thermal coal for delivery to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp in 2014 fell 1.1 percent to $97.10 a ton, the biggest intraday decline since Jan. 31, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.
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