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Cerrejon's Coal Exports Drop to Seven-Year Low in May




By Diana Delgado

June 20, 2020
- Colombian producer Cerrejon's coal exports fell below 1mn t to their lowest since February 2013 last month, as weak demand in the global market and domestic supply constraints hampered loadings.

Cerrejon's exports fell by 2mn t on the year to 800,000t in May, which was also 500,000t lower than in April, company figures show. This was the lowest export volume since February 2013, when Cerrejon shipped 522,607t during a union strike, shipping agency data show.

Cerrejon's January-May exports fell by 3.4mn t on the year to 8.1mn t, with most of the decline recorded in April and May.

Total Colombian coal exports fell by nearly 3mn t on the year to 4.4mn t last month — the lowest since February 2014 — as Covid-19 eroded power-sector demand in many countries.

Colombian exports to Asia-Pacific markets have dropped sharply in the second quarter as a result of greater competition from regional suppliers and declining demand. And exports to Turkey, which is Colombia and Cerrejon's biggest export market, fell by 80,000t to 920,000t in May.

Cerrejon is gradually ramping up production following disruption caused by the pandemic and is said to be producing at 75pc of capacity.

The company resumed production at its Patilla pit in the week of 7 June, Sintracarbon union president Igor Diaz said. This is the fourth of Cerrejon's six pits to be brought back on line. Cerrejon reopened the Annex pit on May 4, Pit 100 on May 8 and La Puente on May 20.

Cerrejon — which is jointly owned by BHP, Anglo American and Glencore — is now far off the pace of its 26.3mn t 2020 export target. If monthly exports continue at the January-May 1.62mn t/month rate, the mining firm would export 19.4mn t in 2020.


Cerrejon coal exports mn t