Carbozulia studies boosting coal industry

Friday, June 7, 2002

Venezuelan coal miner Carbozulia, a subsidiary of state oil giant PDVSA and in charge of coal mining in the state of Zulia, plans to re-launch several projects to boost the sector, a company spokesperson told BNamericas.

One project being studied is the construction of a deep-water port in the gulf of Maracaibo, which is well advanced in terms of investment feasibility studies.

"We are at present making some important decisions to define the future of coal mining in Venezuela, such as the deep-water port and the [associated] railroads. We have revived decade-old studies into these matters," the Carbozulia spokesperson said.

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However, the market and the country's situation have forced the postponement of any decisions, added the official.

The programs do not have specific timetables, the spokesperson said, due to the country's risk rating, which makes any partner or investor, not only in the coal mining sector in any industrial sector, take a long time assessing the situation before making a decision.

"The coal mining business has proven that, under certain price conditions it is profitable; however, any potential investor or partner is likely to take its time before venturing into this kind of industry," he said.

PDVSA is also studying the financial backing required for the projects, as well as its participation in the process. It has to decide whether it will participate or not, or if it does this directly or through a partner in the form of one of its coal mining subsidiaries.

"These elements can't be defined overnight, there is a complete chain of interrelated events that may prompt or stall the process," the spokesperson added.

The Guasare river basin in the state of Zulia produces 90% of Venezuela's coal.