A strike at Colombia’s most productive mine in the northern Guajira department has so far not had the drastic effect on “the entire world,” predicted by the country’s president Juan Manuel Santos.
European coal prices for 2014 have hardly changed according to Bloomberg, as increased exports from the United States are expected to soften the effect of the strike at the Cerrejon mine which began on February 7.
The day after the strike, the price of coal for 2014 delivery to northwest Europe rose by 1.5% to $101.10 a ton, the biggest change since January 2. According to the London Stock Exchange, the price for coal set to be delivered to the Netherlands and Belgium dropped as much as 0.4% on Tuesday morning only to rise five cents to $100.85 by midday.
Workers in the mine owned by BHP Billiton Ltd., Xstrata Plc and Anglo American Plc, went on strike last week demanding an 8.5% pay rise and improved health care benefits. Cerrejon had offered its 5,600 workers a 5% increase which is still “very far from the workers perspectives,” according to a union official.
Side effects from the strike, which is said to be the largest open-pit coal mine in the world, are expected to be limited due to increased exports from the U.S., said Deutsche Bank analysts according to Bloomberg.
The Cerrejon mine accounts for 59.7% of GDP in the northern Guajira department according to local media, while coal from the mine makes up some 5% of global coal sales and is responsible for approximately 12,000 jobs.