Rio Cordoba coal port
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The Rio Cordoba coal port (known locally by its official name Sociedad Portuaria Río Córdoba) is a Colombian coal export facility owned by CNR (Colombian Natural Resources S.A.S.), a private mineral exploration company controlled by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The port, which is located in Ciénaga, Magdalena department, nine nautical miles from its pilot station at Punta Gaira, Colombia, was designed to export coal from CNR's El Hatillo mine and La Francia mine, which are linked by rail to the port. On January 1, 2014 the port was forced to suspend operations pending installation of new direct loading technology mandated by the Colombian government's environmental protection authority. In October 2014, CNR announced that it would move its coal export operations from Río Cordoba to Puerto Drummond coal port.
Brazil's Vale mining company owned the concession to Río Córdoba until May 2012, when Goldman Sachs affiliate CNR purchased the port along with associated mine and railway infrastructure. As reported by The Rio Times, assets included in the sale were "one hundred percent of the El Hatillo coal mine and the coal deposits of Cerro Largo; the Rio Cordoba port; and an 8.43 percent stake in the Fenoco mine-to-port railway."
In August 2013, Colombia's environmental regulatory authority ANLA approved CNR's plans to upgrade the Río Córdoba port at an estimated cost of $137 million. CNR's plans called for dredging of a 20-meter-deep access channel that would permit direct loading of capesize vessels up to 140,000 tons via a closed conveyor belt system. The enhanced port facilities would give CNR the capacity to export an estimated 12 million tons of coal annually from its mines in Colombia's Cesar department. The proposed new conveyor belt system would be capable of loading 6000 to 8000 tons of coal per hour, a great improvement from the current 3000 per hour.
At the beginning of 2014, the Colombian government cited Río Córdoba as one of four ports that had still not complied with new regulations requiring all coal ports to incorporate direct loading facilities as of January 1, 2014. CNR was reportedly only in the initial stages of replacing its old crane-and-barge ship loading system with the mandated conveyor belt technology, and was expected to need 16 to 18 months to meet the new requirements. CNR's request for an 18-month extension to complete its direct loading system was denied, leading to closure of the Río Córdoba port.
Meanwhile, according to the McCloskey Coal Report, production at CNR's El Hatillo and La Francia mines had declined significantly from 2012 levels, with El Hatillo ceasing operations completely at the beginning of 2014, and Goldman Sachs, CNR's parent company, was looking for a buyer for CNR. As of September, CNR had still not shipped any coal from Río Córdoba during 2014 and was still negotiating for the right to use the export facilities at Prodeco's Puerto Nuevo or Drummond's Puerto Drummond.
In October 2014, it was announced that CNR would resume its Colombian coal export operations, making use of the state-of-the-art direct loading facilities at the brand-new port opened in 2014 by Drummond.
- Operator: CNR (Columbian National Resources) S.A.S.
- Location: Ciénaga, Magdalena department, Colombia
- Annual Capacity (Tonnes): 12 million
- Status: Closed (Operations moved to Puerto Drummond coal port in 2014)
- Type: Exports
- Coal source: CNR's El Hatillo and La Francia mines, Colombia
Articles and resources
- "CPC to Acquire Thermal Coal Assets in Colombia from Vale - Deal Analysis", Companies and Markets, May 2012.
- "Exclusive: Goldman Sachs miner halts coal exports from Colombia", Reuters, January 9, 2014.
- Liezel Hill, "Vale paid $305,8m for Colombia coal assets", MiningWeekly.com, April 2, 2009.
- "Vale Sells Colombia Coal Assets", The Rio Times, May 29, 2012.
- "Anla dio aval a puerto de carbón de Goldman Sachs", Portafolio.co, August 11, 2013.
- "Cuatro puertos en la mira de ANLA", El Universal, January 4, 2014.
- "Mick Davis eyes Goldman Sachs’ Colombian assets", McCloskey Coal Report, August 22, 2014.
- "Colombia's coal output may surpass 95mn t in 2014", Argus Media, September 10, 2014.
- "CNR y Drummond llegan a un acuerdo para retomar exportación de carbón", La República, October 1, 2014.
- "Santa Marta: CNR-Goldman Sachs resume operations", The Seagull News, December 28, 2014.