Colombia's coal, gold, platinum output falls in Q2

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Colombia's production of coal, gold, platinum, iron ore and emeralds declined in the second quarter, while nickel and silver output rose, according to the government.

The country, Latin America's largest coal producer, saw coal output drop 0.7% to 21.5Mt in the quarter compared with 23.1Mt a year earlier, the national mining agency (ANM) said in a statement.

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"Although production fell at large-scale mining operations, the outlook for 2017 is stable as prices continue to rebound," energy and mines minister Germán Arce said in the statement. "The sector is optimistic about perspectives for the second half."

Gold production fell 25.7% to 390,177oz from 525,592oz a year earlier, the agency said. Platinum fell 34.5% to 4,203oz from 6,416oz. The government has imposed tougher controls on gold trading as part of a clampdown on illegal mining.

Emerald output totaled 365,524 carats, down 38% from 589,619 carats a year earlier, the agency said. Iron ore production fell 30% to 148,483t from 213,348t a year ago, the agency said.

Nickel output climbed 2.2% to 21.5Mlb at the Cerro Matoso mine, owned by BHP Billiton spin-off South32, from 21.1Mlb a year ago, according to the agency. Silver production rose 2.5% to 96,861oz from 94,496oz, it said.

Phosphate rock operations restarted in the second quarter, recording 14,633t in production, the agency said.

Colombia produced 90.5Mt coal, 81.78Mlb nickel, 1.99Moz gold, 335,248oz silver, 29,481oz platinum, 2.03mn carats of emeralds, 715,692t iron ore and 42,889t phosphate rock in 2016.

President Juan Manuel Santos is courting mining investment to diversify the Andean country's economy away from its dependence on hydrocarbons. The mining industry is studying US$7.6bn in gold, silver and copper projects over the next five years, according to the Colombian mining association (ACM).

Companies including AngloGold Ashanti, Eco Oro Minerals and Continental Gold have lined up projects in Colombia, while Vancouver-based Red Eagle Mining began production at its US$55mn San Ramón gold mine last year.