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Colombia announces coal support for decades to come


The world’s fifth-largest coal exporter, Colombia, is confident that continued coal demand in Asia will warrant Colombian government support to the industry for at least two more decades, even after Glencore said it would relinquish its mining contracts in the country.

“Coal demand from China and India is going to continue. It’s impossible for them to switch their power matrix overnight and stop depending on thermal coal,” Colombia’s Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa told Bloomberg in an interview this week.

“We are going to continue to give support to the operations we currently have,” Mesa said, adding that the high-quality mines could continue to operate for “a couple more decades.”

Last month, Glencore said that its Colombian subsidiary Prodeco would begin handing back its mining contracts to the government after it found it would be uneconomic to restart operations at mines that were put on care and maintenance in March last year. Colombia’s National Mining Agency declined in January 2021 Prodeco’s request for the Calenturitas and La Jagua coal mines to remain on care and maintenance (C&M).

Glencore and Colombia’s Mines and Energy Ministry have been in contact with companies interested in potentially taking over the Glencore mines, minister Mesa told Bloomberg. There has been interest from Asia for the mines, he added.

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