Rail operations have restarted after 50 train cars carrying coal from Glencore’s Prodeco unit in Colombia derailed earlier this week, a private company in charge of the railway concession said on Saturday.
Colombia is the world’s fifth largest coal exporter and Glencore’s Prodeco unit is one of the Andean nation’s top three exporters of the material.
The company, Fenoco, said the train derailed at a crossing on Thursday, causing about 50 cars — with 3,000 tonnes of Prodeco coal headed to the Puerto Prodeco port from Calenturitas mine — to jump the tracks.
Peter Burrowes, president of Fenoco whose shareholders include Prodeco, Drummond, Vale and Goldman Sachs, told Reuters that rail operations had resumed fully on Friday afternoon.
“We’ve restored full rail capacity,” he said, adding that the coal had been recovered. The railway runs a total of about 24 trains daily, with each carrying about 6,000 tonnes of coal, for Drummond, Prodeco and Vale, he said.
Burrowes said the cause of the accident was being investigated, adding it could have been caused by a problem with a switch or one of the wheels.
Glencore’s Prodeco operations consist of La Jagua and Calenturitas mines. It has its own port facilities.
Exporters in Colombia are still trying to catch up on delayed shipments after several months of rain, while Russian coal is arriving frozen at ports and South Africa faces a potential problem due to heavy rains.
In Australia, its flood-stricken coal industry may be disrupted for months after rail and road links were washed away, while some infrastructure could take years to repair, authorities said on Friday.
Severe rains across Colombia, caused by the La Nina weather phenomenon, have damaged infrastructure, hit the agricultural and livestock sectors and slowed coal mining and transportation. The government weather office has forecast rains until March or as late as May. (Jack Kimball / Reuters)