Colombia coal output dips 13.4 pct in a turbulent 2013
BOGOTA Aug 14 (Reuters) - Colombia's coal production fell 13.4 percent in the first half of 2013 to 40.5 million tonnes, the National Mining Agency said on Wednesday, attributing the drop to strike actions and logistics disruption.
The country's coal sector has had a turbulent year so far with a month-long strike at the biggest miner Cerrejon in February and another which began on July 23 and is still continuing at smaller rival Drummond.
Colombia, the world's No. 4 coal exporter, cut its target for 2013 coal production to 94 million tonnes earlier this year as a result of turmoil in the sector. As well as the strikes, the environmental regulator ANLA temporarily closed down a key mine-to-port railway and halted ship loading by Drummond.
Royalties paid to the government by mining companies tumbled 26 percent in the first half of the year compared to the same period a year earlier, to 513 billion pesos ($272.5 million) down from 689 million pesos, the agency said.
Though Colombia is not a major coal producer in absolute terms, it is one of the biggest players in the sea-borne or export coal trade since the world's largest coal producers like the United States and China, consume most of their own output.
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