Drummond aims to produce 50Mt of coal in 2010 – Colombia

Drummond aims to produce 50Mt of coal in 2010 – Colombia

Thursday, August 17th 2006

Alabama-based Drummond aims to produce 50Mt of coal in Colombia in 2010, “doubling current production,” according to Drummond union leader Orlando Acosta.

For now the company hopes to wrap up 2006 with production of 26Mt at its La Loma mine in northern Colombia, where it plans to expand the rail line and infrastructure.

“All of this is scheduled to happen this year,” the union leader said in an interview.

To reach the goal, Drummond has increased ore reserves by acquiring several mines close to La Loma, company president Augusto Jimã©nez was quoted as saying in local press reports.

The company also acquired a dragline, a piece of equipment that reduces production costs and speeds up stripping. However, Acosta believes that this type of equipment could displace nearly 1,000 employees.

“This machine replaces a huge number of workers,” he said.

Other projects the company is targeting include the installation of a 20km conveyor belt to improve productivity, reports said.

Drummond, which exported 22Mt from Colombia in 2005, hopes to maintain production goals this year in spite of a 32-day strike that affected operations partway through the year.

“The company also plans to build a new dock that will allow it to increase export capacity,” said Acosta, without providing further details.

A company representative was unavailable for comment when contacted by BNamericas.

According to earlier reports, Drummond will invest US$1.1bn to expand operations in Colombia over the next five years.

At the La Loma mine – in El Cã©sar department – and in the port, Drummond has more than 2,900 direct and 5,000 indirect employees.

By Harvey Beltrã¡n

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