Drummond suspends coal exports from Colombia

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Associated Press

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 11 at 5:34 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The Drummond coal company says it is halting all exports from Colombia until March after environmental authorities ordered it to stop using barges to load its ships because of pollution concerns.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Wednesday that the government was suspending Drummond's port operations because they were contaminating the Bay of Santa Marta. The Caribbean bay is an important tourist destination.

Alabama-based Drummond Company Inc. said in a statement Friday that a two-month labor strike last year delayed completion of a conveyor system that authorities have demanded it use to load ships directly from a fixed pier.

Colombian officials fined Drummond $3.6 million last year for spilling coal into the coastal waters where it loads its ships.

Drummond produces about 25 million tons of coal annually in Colombia.

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