Cerrejon coal mine

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Colombia and coal.
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The Cerrejon coal mine, which is located near the village of Albania in the La Guajira department of Colombia. The mine is owned by the Cerrejon Coal Company, which in turn is owned by subsidiaries of BHP Billiton plc, Anglo American plc and Xstrata plc.[1] The Cerrejon mine comprises four zones: the North Zone, the Central Zone, the Patilla area and the South Zone.

BHP Billiton states on its website that "Cerrejon's open cut mines now represent one of the biggest earthmoving operations worldwide. Approximately one million tonnes of material are moved every day, 365 days per year. To achieve this, the operation runs one of the biggest fleets of shovels and trucks in the world. The company employs nearly 4,000 people, with approximately the same number engaged as contractors."[1]

Corporate history

On its website, Xstrata Coal states that "in December 1976, an Association Contract was signed between Carbocol S.A., a state owned coal company, and Intercor, an ExxonMobil affiliate, for the development of Cerrejón North Zone. In January 1999, an agreement with the Government of Colombia extended this phase an additional 25 years more, until 2034. In November 2000, the Colombian Government sold Carbocol S.A.’s (50%) participation in Cerrejón North Zone Association Contract, to a consortium made up of subsidiary companies of BHP Billiton plc, Anglo American plc and Glencore International AG. In February of 2002, the consortium acquired the remaing 50% from Intercor and merged Intercor with Carbones del Cerrejón S.A to create Carbones del Cerrejón LLC, Cerrejón."[2]

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In 2009 Cerrejon coal mine produced 30.3 million tonnes. Cerrejon Coal Company states that in 2009 56% pf its production was exported to Europe, 17% to North America, 12% to Central and South America and 15% to "other destinations".[3] Since 1985, Cerrejon Coal Company has exported produced 444.9 million tonnes.[4]

Coal from Cerrejon is marketed by CMC Coal Marketing Company, a company owned equally by BHP Billiton plc, Anglo American plc and Xstrata plc. CMC Coal Marketing Company has offices in Dublin and Atlanta.[5]

Xstrata Coal states that the mine employs 8,400 people and has a "reserve base in excess of 900 million tonnes."[2]


In August 2011, three of the U.K.'s largest listed miners - Xstrata Coal, BHP Billiton, and Anglo American - in the Colombian Cerrejon thermal coal mine approved a $1.3 billion project to expand the coal mine's output by 25%. Each own a 33.3% stake in the mine and will invest $437 million each. The approved Cerrejon project will increase coal output by 8 million tons to 40 million tons a year, as well as expand the coal handling facilities and the fully-owned Puerto Bolivar port, adding an extra loading berth. Construction will be completed by 2013.

Cerrejon, located in La Guajira, has a resource base of about 5 billion tons, of which 2.1 billion tons are currently measured and indicated to be of export quality, according to the companies. Xstrata said it is one of the largest coal deposits in the world.[6]


Colombia's Cerrejon projects 2011 coal exports will reach 32 million mt

It was announced in September 2011 that Cerrejon coal mine, which owns Colombia's largest coal mine, projected it will export about 32 million mt in 2011, up from 30.2 million mt from 2010.

At the projected level, exports from Cerrejon would account for 42.6% of Colombia's total coal exports. Colombia is among the worlds top-five coal exporters with Australia, South Africa, Indonesia and Russia.[7]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 BHP Billiton, "Cerrejon Coal Company", BHP Billiton website, accessed June 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Xstrata Coal, "Cerrejòn", Xstrata Coal website, accessed August 2010.
  3. Cerrjon Coal Company, "Exports volume", Cerrjon Coal Company website, accessed June 2010.
  4. Cerrjon Coal Company, "Export results", Cerrjon Coal Company website, accessed June 2010.
  5. Cerrjon Coal Coampany, "Marketing", Cerrjon Coal Company website, accessed June 2010.
  6. Alex MacDonald, "U.K.-listed miners OK $1.3B Colombia coal plan" MarketWatch, Aug. 18, 2011.
  7. "Colombia's Cerrejon projects 2011 coal exports will reach 32 million mt" Platts, September 26, 2011.

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