Coal production in Colombia, the world’s No. 4 coal exporter, jumped in the third quarter to 23 million tonnes, up nearly 28% from the same period last year, the country’s mining regulator said on Friday.
Colombia’s coal industry is dominated by big thermal producers with their own port and rail facilities such as Glencore, Drummond and Cerrejon, which is owned equally by BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata.
Coal exports in the quarter shot up 24.6% from a year ago to about 21 million tonnes, according to data from the Ingeominas regulator.
Production in Guajira province — where Cerrejon, the country’s largest exporter, has four of five licenses to mine — rose% in the third quarter to 8.9 million tonnes versus the same period last year, it said.
Output at Drummond’s La Loma and El Descanso mines increased nearly 16% to 5.9 million tonnes in the same period while output at Glencore’s operations in Colombia soared nearly 70 percent to 3.8 million tonnes, the regulator said.
All three companies exported all production in the July-September period.
In the first nine months of the year, Colombia’s total coal output increased 11% to 63.6 million tonnes while exports went up around 12 percent to 58.8 million tonnes, according to regulator data.
It did not give a reason for output changes, but usually production at mines is affected by seasonal factors such as winter in Colombia’s top markets Europe and the United States as well as global supply and demand for the material.
All the major thermal coal producers have expansion plans for their mines and export infrastructure.
Infrastructure bottlenecks are seen as the main problem for Latin America’s No. 4 oil producer as it seeks to hike important exports like crude oil, coal and coffee, while also expanding its mining sector.