* Cerrejon coal production falls in Q2 vs yr ago
* Drummond, Glencore output rise in April-June
BOGOTA Aug 12 Coal production in Colombia, the
world's No. 4 coal exporter, rose a paltry 0.5 percent in the
second quarter to 20.3 million tonnes versus the same period
last year, the country's mining regulator said on Friday.
Colombia's coal industry is dominated by big thermal
producers with their own port and rail facilities such as
Glencore, Drummond and Cerrejon, which is owned equally by BHP
Billiton (BLT.L), Anglo American (AAL.L) and Xstrata XTA.L.
Exports of the material rose 2 percent to 18.8 million
tonnes in the April-June period versus a year ago, the
Ingeominas regulator said.
Production in Guajira province -- where Cerrejon, the
country's largest exporter, has four of five licenses to mine
-- fell nearly 11 percent in the second quarter to 7.79 million
tonnes versus the same period last year, it said.
Output at Drummond's La Loma and El Descanso mines
increased 8.3 percent to 5.93 million tonnes in the same period
while output at Glencore's operations in Colombia soared nearly
24 percent to 3.25 million tonnes, the regulator said.
In the first half of the year, Colombia's total coal
production rose 3.2 percent to 40.6 million tonnes versus the
same period of 2010 while exports rose nearly 6 percent to
almost 38 million tonnes in the same timeframe.
The regulator did not give a reason for output changes, but
usually production at mines is affected by seasonal factors
such as winter in Colombia's top markets Europe and the United
States as well as global supply and demand for the material.
All the major thermal coal producers have expansion plans
for their mines and export infrastructure, which the government
hopes will double coal production in coming years.
Colombia's energy ministry expects coal output this year to
jump 17 percent to 87 million tonnes versus 2010, close to the
capacity limit of ports. [ID:nN31269660]
Infrastructure bottlenecks are seen as the main problem for
Latin America's No. 4 oil producer as it seeks to hike
important exports like crude oil, coal and coffee, while also
expanding its mining sector.
The country's coal ports are nearing their limits but
officials expect that by 2019 they can increase capacity to 149
million tonnes from 90.5 million tonnes currently.
(Reporting by Jack Kimball; Editing by Marguerita Choy)