London — Colombia's second largest thermal coal miner Drummond is to export 28 million mt in 2015, up from the previous year's 23.1 million mt, Drummond Colombia president Jose Miguel Linares said.
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Speaking to journalists on Friday and as reported by various Colombian news outlets, Linares said the Fenoco nighttime rail ban, which affected shipments between February and November, cost the company between 4.5 million and 5.5 million mt of exports during the year.
However, if Fenoco railings continue unhindered in 2016, total exports are expected to reach 35 million mt, with output marginally lower than that, Linares said.
In a more detailed interview with Colombian financial daily La Republica, Linares said that assuming Colombian coal is priced at an average of $48/mt FOB, coal sales might be around $1.68 billion in 2016.
Platts assessed its weekly FOB Colombia 6,000 kcal/kg NAR thermal coal price at $46.50/mt Friday, at its lowest level since January 2006.
Linares said Drummond's investments next year will be focused on completing a second parallel rail line for Fenoco, in addition to safety measures along the railway.
The second rail line is only around 36 km from being completed, but the remaining stretch is being occupied by displaced people, which the country's national infrastructure agency (ANI) is expected to resettle elsewhere, he said.
"We are in a constant search for efficiencies, where we're looking at how to reduce costs with our contractors. But Drummond is a financially healthy company, as well as traditionally a mining company, not a trader, so we know how to handle such situations and efficiencies," Linares told La Republica.
Fenoco, which also carries coal from Glencore-owned Prodeco and Murray Energy's Colombian Natural Resources to coal export terminals in Colombia's Caribbean coast, was banned from transporting coal between 10:30 pm and 4:30 am to reduce noise pollution.
The ban was lifted in late November after a local court deemed the noise mitigation measures as effective.