Bomb damages rail line for Cerrejon coal operation in Colombia

On the morning of Oct. 13 there was an attack on the railway for the Cerrejon strip coal mining operation in Colombia, which is a major supplier to U.S. utilities, which caused the derailment of 43 cars.

No one was injured. The Cerrejon company said in an Oct. 13 statement that it rejects this type of violent actions and stands firmly to its commitment to responsible mining, following the highest standards and concerned about the development and welfare of communities.

The terrorist attack against the railroad took place when an explosive device was activated near the kilometer 93 mark. The explosion hit the train hauling coal from the mine to Puerto Bolívar causing the derailment of 43 cars and damage on the railway. It also caused the truck of the assistant from Cerrejon’s Protection Division to overturn. Since the time of the attack, the area has been secured with the help of the National Army and a multidisciplinary team from the company was gathered to restore railway operations.

These kinds of bombings happen periodically. On March 14, another train on this rail line suffered a terrorist attack with explosives that caused the derailment of 17 coal cars. There was another rail line bombing on Jan. 21.

Cerrejon includes a thermal coal open pit mine that produced 34.6 million tonnes in 2012, a railroad that is 150 kilometers long, and a port able to receive ships of up to 180,000 tonnes dead weight. The company employs 10,000 people, of which over 99% are Colombian nationals. Cerrejon is independently operated, but belongs in three equal parts to subsidiaries of international miners BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Glencore Xstrata.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. customers for Cerrejon earlier this year included the St. Johns River Power Park and Northside power plants in Florida of JEA, and the Brayton Point (Energy Capital Partners) and Salem Harbor (Footprint Power) plants in Massachusetts.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.