March 31, 2014 / 11:25 PM / 4 years ago

Drummond says it has resumed coal exports in Colombia

BOGOTA, March 31 (Reuters) - 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 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 it caused.

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. (Reporting by Helen Murphy)

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