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US miner Drummond restarts coal loadings at Colombian export terminal

Highlights

US miner Drummond restarted coal loadings from its Colombian export terminal late Monday after its environmental restrictions were lifted following a three-month export ban, the company said in a statement.

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The miner's Colombian ship-loading operations were suspended on environmental grounds on January 7 when it failed to install direct loading technology at its export terminal by a January 1 deadline.

Colombia's national authority for environmental licenses (ANLA) confirmed through a statement late Monday that it had lifted the restrictions after it confirmed the direct loading systems were in place at the port.


"This decision has been made after the exhaustive technical verification during several days for the implementation of the direct loading system in the port, which will not be able to load coal with barges," ANLA director Nubia Orozco Acosta said in the statement Monday.

Drummond said Monday that it will continue construction on the $360 million coal terminal until the end of August when it expects two ship-loaders to be operational, expanding its total annual export capacity to 60 million mt.

The Colombian government also imposed a $800,000 fine on Drummond early in the year after the miner continued loading via barges until it effectively stopped exports on January 13.

Shipping sources said the first cargo loaded at Puerto Drummond was a 93,000 mt vessel, booked by a northwest European utility trader.

Drummond is Colombia's second-largest thermal coal miner, exporting around 22 million mt in 2013 and is looking to ship 25 million mt this year.

Spot thermal coal prices in Europe, the main destination for Colombian coal, remained supported Tuesday after the Drummond restart news was released.

Broker sources said shipments for May DES Amsterdam-Rotterdam were bid at $79/mt and offered at $82/mt Tuesday morning, slightly higher than Monday's multi-origin May DES Rotterdam cargo trade at $79/mt.

Spot CIF ARA prices rose $4 to $84.30/mt on January 8 after the Drummond suspension was confirmed, and continued rising to its 2014 peak of $87.75/mt on January 16, Platts data showed.

Platts last assessed the CIF ARA 15-60 day price at $77.70/mt Monday, up 85 cents from Friday.

--Jaime Concha, jaime.concha@platts.com
--Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@platts.com