A series of extended work stoppages this year in Colombia’s coal-mining sector have meant losses of close to $250 million for the industry and the country, according to economists.
Experts at the FEDESSAROLLO economic research center say companywide strikes at Alabama-based coal giant Drummond, and localized strikes at the El Cerrejon and La Francia coal mines in the Cesar department, have dropped production for the year by some 8.5 million tons, leading to a negative overall growth of between 2 and 4% overall.
Jonathan Malagon, director of economic analysis at the center, told a Colombian news station that, “carbon production, instead of growing between 4 and 8% as projected, will have a negative growth of up to 4%.”
Malagon did not specify what, if any, impact the nearly two month strike of small and medium-scale miners had on coal production, but even after the traditional miners returned to work earlier this week, workers at Drummond are still locked in a battle over proposed salary increases. The miners have been on strike for over 40 days now.
According to the FEDESSAROLLO, the lost productivity in the coal sector means a 1% loss in the growth of the greater mining sector and .1% in Colombia’s national GDP, which economists say is a heavy loss.