BOGOTA, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Colombia’s top-coal-producer Cerrejon said on Sunday that meeting its 2013 production target of 34 million tonnes will be more difficult after a month-long strike earlier this year and guerrilla attacks on its railway, a company spokesman told Reuters.
Cerrejon, a joint venture between Anglo American Plc , BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata Plc had more disruption over the weekend when members of an indigenous community blocked its railway, demanding jobs.
Spokesman Juan Carlos Restrepo said the blockade from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning had little impact on logistics but added that repeated disruption would make it harder for the company to reach its 2013 production target of 34 million tonnes.
“We have had with the strike, blockages and attacks, a number of interruptions to the supply of coal. We are able to recover some of the lost time but with more things happening it gets harder to reach it,” Restrepo said, adding Cerrejon was still “optimistic” it could still reach its 2013 target.
The company produced 34.6 million tonnes of coal in 2012 out of 89.2 million tonnes produced nationwide that year, and 33.3 million tonnes in 2011. The government has forecast total national coal production of 94 million tonnes for 2013.
Colombia is the world’s No. 4 coal exporter with much of its output consumed by European countries. Coal miners and oil producers in the Andean nation have to contend with frequent attacks on infrastructure by the country’s two left-wing rebel groups, the FARC and ELN.
Cerrejon’s railway was bombed twice in October in attacks believed to have been carried out by FARC guerrillas, partly derailing passing trains. Exports were unaffected due to stocks the company holds at its port facilities.
Cerrejon’s operations were shut down by a month-long miners’ strike in February which eventually ended with a three-year wage agreement. Workers at Colombia’s No. 2 coal miner, U.S.-based Drummond, began an even longer seven-week strike in July.