Puerto Drummond coal port

From Global Energy Monitor


The Puerto Drummond coal port is a private coal terminal owned and operated by Drummond, Colombia's second largest coal producer. It is located on the Caribbean coast, approximately 10 km from Ciénaga, Magdalena department, Colombia.

In 2014, Drummond unveiled US$360 million in improvements to the port's infrastructure, including the installation of state-of-the-art direct loading facilities. These improvements doubled the port's export capacity from 30 million to 60 million tonnes per year, establishing Puerto Drummond as the largest coal port in Colombia.[1]


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Project Details

  • Operator: Drummond Ltd.
  • Annual Capacity (Tonnes): 60 million
  • Status: Existing


As described on Drummond's website, Puerto Drummond is a "deep-water ocean port on the Caribbean Sea near Santa Marta." Coal is brought to the port by train via a renovated 120-mile railway from Drummond's two open-pit coal mines in the Cesar Coal Basin near La Loma: La Loma mine (also known as Mina Pribbenow) and El Descanso mine. Drummond's website notes that the port "has the capability to load all sizes of vessels from handy-size up to the largest capesize."[2] While Europe has traditionally been the largest export market for coal shipped from Puerto Drummond, new markets in Asia have also opened up as a result of the 80%-20% partnership established between Drummond and Japan-based Itochu Corporation in 2011.[3]

The company stated in August 2010 that it planned to expand production from the El Descanso mine from its "current capacity of 3 million tonnes per year to 25 million tonnes per year over the next three years." The company noted that this would require the expansion of the Puerto Drummond coal port which handles coal from both El Descanso mine and the company's La Loma mine. The company also stated that it had "committed to the government to build a direct ship loader" at Puerto Drummond.[4]

In mid-January 2013, a coal barge from Port Drummond encountered high winds and waves during a Caribbean storm, and a crane had to be employed to remove water and prevent the barge from sinking. During the removal process, Drummond estimated that approximately 200 tons of coal were deposited in the ocean. In response, Colombia's environmental licensing body suspended loading operations at Port Drummond for three weeks.[5][6][7]

Between July and September 2013, a strike at Puerto Drummond and its associated mines halted Drummond's Colombian coal exports for 53 days. The strike was called in part to demand the relocation of port workers expected to lose their jobs with the introduction of government-mandated direct loading in 2014.[8].

Operations at Puerto Drummond were again suspended for nearly three months in early 2014 while Drummond completed government-mandated changes to its loading system, replacing barges and cranes with "direct loading" conveyor-belt technology.[9][10] Drummond claimed that the mid-2013 strike was partly responsible for the company's failure to meet the January 1, 2014 deadline for installing direct loading technology at the port. Colombian authorities granted Drummond permission to temporarily use coal export facilities at the adjacent Puerto Nuevo coal terminal, operated by Drummond's competitor Prodeco, while Puerto Drummond was being renovated, but Drummond was unable to exercise this option as Prodeco's port was already operating at full capacity.[11]

In late March 2014 Puerto Drummond completed construction of its new direct loading facilities and reopened for business.[12] By October 2014, the port's capacity had been doubled to 60 million tonnes per year, allowing Drummond to offer export services to other Colombian mining companies.[13]

Thermal coal exports from Puerto Drummond totaled 21.7 million tonnes in 2014[14], 27.756 million tonnes in 2015[15], and 32.10 million tonnes in 2016.[16]

As of 2021, the port holds certifications for industrial safety and occupational health (ISO 45001), as well as in physical security and port protection.[17] As of July 2021, the coal storage yard has an approximate capacity of 800,000 tons of coal in addition to the ability to keep varying qualities of coal separate or to blend as needed.[17] The dock has systems for drainage, containment, industrial wastewater management, dust suppression, and water spraying.[17]

Articles and resources


  1. "Drummond Restarts Port Operations with an Investment of US$360 Million in a Modern Direct Ship Loading System", Drummond press release, March 2014.
  2. "Colombia", Drummond website, accessed January 2015.
  3. "Itochu-Drummond deal opens Asia to Colombian coal", Reuters, June 16, 2011.
  4. Drummond, "Drummond Limited Plans new development", Media Release, August 21, 2010.
  5. "Drummond vows to improve coal loading at its Colombian port", Reuters, February 7, 2013.
  6. "Drummond to Restart 80,000 Tons a Day of Colombian Coal Exports", Bloomberg, March 1, 2013.
  7. "Drummond LTD Responds with FACTS and Asks WHY?", Drummond website, accessed January 2015.
  8. "Drummond Miners in Colombia Return to Work, Ending 53-Day Strike", Bloomberg, September 16, 2013.
  9. "Colombia Orders Drummond Coal to Halt Port Operations", Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2014.
  10. "Colombia Bans Coal Loading by 2nd-Biggest Producer Drummond", Bloomberg, January 9, 2014.
  11. "Drummond declares force majeure in Colombia as Glencore denies it access to coal port", Mining.com, January 13, 2014.
  12. "US miner Drummond restarts coal loadings at Colombian export terminal", Platts, April 1, 2014.
  13. "CNR y Drummond llegan a un acuerdo para retomar exportación de carbón", La República, October 1, 2014.
  14. "Colombian thermal coal exports rose in 2014" World Coal, Jan 16, 2015
  15. "Colombian 2015 thermal coal exports rise 7.6% on year to 80.64 million mt" Platts, Jan 11, 2016
  16. "Colombian thermal coal exports rise 9% in 2016 to record 88 mil mt" Platts, Jan 17, 2017
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Port - Drummond LTD". Drummond LTD. Retrieved 2021-07-22.

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