A unit of the Prodeco Group, Puerto Nuevo’s construction, which began in 2010, represents a $550 million state-of-the-art capital infrastructure investment by Glencore. The facility’s completion is a major development in the coal industry of Colombia, which enjoys South America’s leading reserves. Latin America’s No. 4 economy is also thriving amid of one of the world’s great mining-based economic expansions—thanks to investment by both China and Canadian prospectors and juniors.

In addition to being the first port in Ciénaga to implement a direct loading system, Puerto Nuevo’s initial export capacity will be approximately 21 million metric tons (mt) annually with the coal being transported to North America, Europe and Asia. Puerto Nuevo also offers an unloading station for trains with an 8,000 mt per hour (mtph) capacity, a storage yard with 1.1 million mt capacity, 7 km of covered conveyor belts that can transport 8,000 mtph, supported by a buffer silo with 2,500 mt capacity, and a 1.7 km access pier open to cape-size vessels.

The port construction was tailored to protect 200 hectares of native forest along with construction berms to isolate coal stockpiles and to help control dust emissions, as well as the planting of 18,000 trees and the relocation of almost 800 animals. Puerto Nuevo also prioritized hiring local employees. Since the opening of its community service office in Ciénaga in 2010, Puerto Nuevo assisted in helping more than 1,000 people find employment.

Following this year’s megamerger worth more than $70 billion, the Swiss-based Glencore Xstrata has become one of the world’s leading integrated producers and marketers of commodities, with activities production, sourcing, processing, refining, transporting and supply of metals, minerals and energy products.

Prodeco comprises Glencore Xstrata’s Colombian export thermal and metallurgical coal mining operations for markets in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. These include two open-pit coal mining operations along with a 40% share in Fenoco, a company holding the railway concession linking Prodeco mines to the export ports.