Colombia’s Cerrejon mining conglomerate announced Monday that production at its coastal coal site fell to 36.3 million tons in 2013, a 4.6% decrease from 38.1 million tons of the previous year.
In explaining the lowered production rate, Cerrejon cited a difficult set of circumstances including a drop in global coal prices that affected the worldwide industry.
Owned as a joint venture by Anglo American Plc, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata Plc, Cerrejon was one of a number of industry leaders in the mining and petroleum sectors to see production drop amid extended labor disputes during 2013.
According to the company, a series of guerrilla attacks on its railway transport line to its Caribbean port did not effect exports, thanks to an aggressive contingency plan.
Colombia is the world’s forth-largest exporter of coal. Most coal currently produced in Colombia heads to fuel electricity demand in Europe. Behind oil, coal is the country’s second-most valuable resources, according to Reuters.
In contrast to U.S.-based Drummond Ltd., Colombia’s second-largest mining operation, Cerrejon uses a conveyor belt to load coal into ships at its Caribbean port. Drummond is currently facing a disruption in exports as Colombian authorities shut down its port after the company failed to install a conveyor belt on schedule.
Located in the northwest state of La Guajira, Cerrejon is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world.