(Adds detail on coal output)
BOGOTA, March 31 U.S.-based Drummond Co Inc
, Colombia's second biggest coal miner, resumed
exports of the fuel after an upgrade of its port to meet new
environmental legislation, the company said on Monday.
Drummond will invest $360 million to finish the update of
its port by August, it said in a statement. On completion, the
port will have installed capacity of 60 million tonnes a year.
The government shut the port in January after the new
environmental law took effect, slashing the country's coal
exports by about a third after it banned the use of cranes and
barges to load boats, a practise outlawed due to the pollution
Resumption of Drummond's exports looks likely to be the end
for now of more than a year of logistics and labor strife that
has blighted the Andean nation's coal production and caused it
to fall 4 percent short of its production target in 2013 when
output totaled 85.5 million tonnes.
Drummond was unable to finish building the now legally
required conveyor belt loading system before the law took
effect, and had not shipped coal since around Jan. 12.
Drummond is working on construction of legally compliant
infrastructure that pours coal straight into ships' holds from a
covered conveyor belt.
Drummond has cut its production forecast for 2014 to 25
million to 26 million tonnes, down from a previous forecast of
30 million tonnes.
The company, which produces as much as 90,000 tonnes a day,
was fined some $800,000 by the government for continuing to load
using barges after the law kicked in.
The shutdown of Drummond's port activity had an impact on
Colombia's economy the company's coal exports represent about 30
percent of total exports of the mineral from the fourth biggest
exporter of coal.
(Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Eric Walsh)