BOGOTA – Coal production in Colombia, the world's fifth-largest exporter of the fuel, fell 47.2% in the third quarter amid a national coronavirus lockdown and an ongoing strike at a major mine, according to Reuters calculations using government figures released on Monday.
The South American country produced 11 million tonnes of coal between July and September, down from 20.8 million tonnes in the year-ago period, the mines and energy ministry and national mining agency said in a joint statement.
The output figure is an improvement on production of 9.7-million tonnes in the second quarter, as many mines reduced operations. Colombia's gradually loosened national lockdown was in place between March and the end of August.
Colombia produced 82.2-million tonnes of coal in 2019. Major miners include Cerrejon, jointly owned by BHP Group, Anglo American and Glencore; Drummond ; and Prodeco, a unit of Glencore.
Cerrejon's largest union has been on strike for three months over contract negotiations and a proposed new work schedule the union refers to as the "death shift". Cerrejon has requested arbitration to resolve the dispute.
Gold production rose 58% according to Reuters calculations - increasing to 14.2 tonnes in the third quarter of this year from 8.97 tonnes in the third quarter of 2019.
Nickel production fell just under 6% to 22-million pounds from 23.4-million in the year-ago period.
Mines and energy Minister Diego Mesa hailed the gold and nickel figures in the statement, noting both minerals increased their production compared with the second quarter.
Mining royalties in the third quarter totaled 331.7-billion pesos, about $91.8-million.