BOGOTA Oct 13 Colombia's biggest coal producer,
Cerrejon, said a bomb attack on its railway on Sunday partially
derailed a train carrying coal to port and damaged the track,
but exports would continue as normal using stocks held at its
The early-morning attack, which a military source told
Reuters was carried out by the country's main rebel group, the
FARC, was the latest in a spate of explosions in the last week
blamed on the guerrillas and targeting oil and gas pipelines.
The railway owned and used exclusively by Cerrejon, carried
32.7 million tonnes of coal from its mine in La Guajira province
to its port, Puerto Bolivar in 2012, the company said. Cerrejon
is a joint venture between Anglo American, BHP Billiton
A Cerrejon team was working with the security forces to
secure the area where the explosion took place and carry out
necessary repairs to re-open the line, a company statement said.
Juan Carlos Restrepo, a company spokesman, told Reuters it
was unclear how long it would take to reopen the rail line, but
said stocks at the port would cover export requirements until it
"Cerrejon condemns this type of violent action that
generates considerable economic and environmental damage and at
the same time creates a high risk of fatalities," Cerrejon's
The explosion was a further setback to the company this year
and to Colombia's coal sector as a whole after a month-long
strike by Cerrejon workers in February followed by a seven week
stoppage at Colombia's No. 2 miner, Drummond.
Cerrejon's property was subject to seven attacks in 2012.
The company did not blame any specific group for the attack and
said no one had been injured.
The FARC and their smaller counterpart, the ELN, regularly
attack infrastructure in the energy sector in protest at the
presence of foreign companies whose activities they say do not
sufficiently benefit the Colombian population.
Though attacks continue, security for businesses has vastly
improved since a U.S.-backed offensive against anti-government
guerrillas and drug gangs was launched in 2002.
That has helped attract billions of dollars in new
investment as explorers push into more areas in search of
minerals and oil. In 2012, Colombia brought in $16 billion in
foreign investment, up from around $2 billion in 2002.