Coal production in Colombia, the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter, fell by 48.8% in the second quarter because of coronavirus quarantine measures and low international prices, the government said on Friday.
The South American country produced 9.7-million tonnes of the fuel between April and June, down from 18.8-million tonnes in the year-ago period, the mines and energy ministry and national mining agency said in a joint statement.
The country was under quarantine for more than five months from March to the end of August. Though coal mining was exempt from a full shutdown, many mines reduced operations.
“The reduction, and in some cases suspension, of activities at important coal projects, in an effort to mitigate contagion risks and the fall in international prices, drastically affected the numbers for the country’s key mineral,” the statement said.
Gold production rose 14% from the second quarter of 2019, to 10 tonnes, thanks to high international prices.
“The increase in legal gold production in the midst of this context where prices have risen almost 30% confirms the golden opportunity this mineral offers for the sustainable recovery of Colombia,” mines and energy minister Diego Mesa said in the statement.
Nickel production fell 9% from the year-ago period to 21.2-million pounds as Covid-19 reduced operations.
Mining royalties in the second quarter totaled 475.4-billion pesos, about $128-million, with coal contributing 79%, nickel 10%, gold 10% and other minerals 1%.