October 2, 2014 / 3:00 AM / 6 years ago

CNR to re-start Colombia coal exports after Drummond accord -sources

BOGOTA, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Colombian Natural Resources (CNR), owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs, will re-start coal exports and re-establish mining operations after the government helped broker a deal for its use of Drummond’s Caribbean Sea port, according to government and industry sources.

CNR suspended exports from its port in Colombia at the end of last year because its loading procedures did not meet environmental standards that came into force at the start of 2014.

Drummond will allow CNR to use its port near Cienaga, on Colombia’s northern Caribbean Sea, said the two sources, who asked not to be identified.

Mining vice-minister Cesar Diaz told Reuters last month the government was helping find a solution to the export stoppage.

“The accord allows CNR to use Drummond’s port for export,” a government official told Reuters, declining to provide further details of the agreement.

A Drummond official declined to comment and CNR was not immediately available when telephoned by Reuters.

Under the new regulations, coal must be transferred directly from train cars to cargo ships using conveyor belts - an effort to prevent stray coal from polluting the sea.

In January a source from CNR told Reuters the company would need between 16 and 18 months to install a new loading system at the port.

The government receives significant royalties and taxes from the industry, dominated by major producers Prodeco, a subsidiary of Glencore Xstrata, Drummond and Cerrejon. Cerrejon is a joint venture of BHP Billiton , Anglo American PLC and Glencore.

Coal is Colombia’s second most profitable export after oil.

CNR produced 3.5 million tons of coal in 2013, accounting for about 4 percent of production in Colombia. The company owns two mines and its port in the Andean country, and employs 530 people directly and 800 indirectly, according to figures from last year. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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