Production and exports from the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia plummet in 2020

File photo. A truck transports coal at the Cerrejón mine near the municipality of Barrancas, in the department of La Guajira, Colombia, May 24, 2007. REUTERS / José Miguel Gómez

BOGOTÁ, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Production and exports from Cerrejón, one of the largest thermal coal mines in Colombia, fell in 2020 due to a reduction in demand, falling prices, the impact of the pandemic of COVID-19 and a strike that paralyzed the operation for three months, the company reported Wednesday.

Production reached 12.4 million tons in 2020, 51.9% below the 25.8 million tons the previous year.

Meanwhile, exports totaled 13.6 million tons, the lowest figure in the last 18 years, which represented a drop of 48.2% compared to 26.3 million tons in 2019.

“2020 has been one of the most difficult years in Cerrejón’s history, due to the reduction in the demand for coal in its natural market, the fall in prices, the court decisions that have not allowed access to more profitable coal reserves , the reduction of activities for more than 40 days to implement the security measures required to reduce the risk of contagion of COVID-19 and the 91 days of strike, “the company said in a statement.

Cerrejón is an integrated mining and transportation complex in the department of La Guajira, in northeastern Colombia, which includes an open pit mine, a 150-kilometer railway line, and a maritime port that receives ships of up to 180,000 tons of cargo.

The main players in Colombia’s coal industry include Cerrejón, jointly owned by BHP Group, Anglo American and Glencore; Drummond and Prodeco, which is a unit of Glencore.

Colombia produced 82.2 million tons of coal in 2019. The mineral is the second product that generates the highest income for the country from exports, after oil, and the Government receives significant resources in taxes and royalties for its exploitation.

By 2020, the country was seeking a coal production similar to that of 2019.

(Report by Luis Jaime Acosta, Edited by Juana Casas)

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