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FACTBOX-Coal miner Drummond's operations in Colombia

BOGOTA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - U.S. miner Drummond [DRMND.UL] has received at least four bids for its Colombian coal operations, but it is not clear whether they are in the $6 billion to $8 billion range the company is targeting, according to sources familiar with the matter. [ID:nWEN0728]

The family-owned company acquired mining rights in Colombia in the 1980s and began extracting coal in the early 1990s from its Pribbenow mine. Last year, it began exports at its El Descanso mine in Cesar province.

Its mining operations use draglines, hydraulic shovels, trucks, electric shovels, conveyor belt systems, apron feeders and support equipment, according to a market research report.

For a graphic on Drummond’s output, click

link.reuters.com/sep76p

Here are some facts about Drummond’s Colombian operations:

PRIBBENOW (LA LOMA) MINE

With estimated reserves of as much as 400 million tonnes, the open-pit Pribbenow mine in Cesar province has been the main producer for the Alabama-based firm. The area -- which spans 6,600 hectares -- produces around 20 million tonnes a year.

EL DESCANSO

Spanning around 42,000 hectares, El Descanso mine has estimated reserves of 1.75 billion tonnes of coal and could reach production of over 25 million tonnes annually with mine life until 2066. In mid-2009, Drummond made its first shipment from the mine of 45,000 tonnes.

OTHER PROJECTS

The company has the Rincon Hondo and Similoa projects in Cesar state with an estimated 170 million tonnes of recoverable reserves although the firm is awaiting the environmental permits, said a report by the Australian Trade Commission, an Australian mining group and Colombia’s mining chamber.

The smaller Cerrolargo Centro project is also awaiting the environmental permits, the report said.

RAIL AND PORT

Drummond has around 193 km (120 miles) of train track from Pribbenow mine to Puerto Drummond on the Caribbean coast with 36 locomotives and nearly 1,500 wagons. It moves around 13 trains daily to its port, which has a capacity to receive and load 30 million tonnes annually. The harbor can handle cape-size vessels.

EXPANSION PLANS

The company plans to grow El Descanso mine from its current production capacity of 3 million tonnes a year to 25 million tonnes per year over the next three years. [ID:nN21156831] Drummond says it will invest in new technology at its Pribbenow mine, new equipment and infrastructure expansion on the railway and port. It said it would build a new coal loading jetty over the next four years at a cost of $375 million. [ID:nN2997112]

Sources: Drummond website, Colombia mining regulator, Reuters, market research reports (Reporting by Jack Kimball in Bogota and Jackie Cowhig in London; Editing by David Gregorio)

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