Colombia’s largest coal miner El Cerrejón may revise downward this year’s production and export target of 32 million mt as a result of torrential rain. Several firms have expressed interest in financing the Carare railway, which would transport as much as 15 million mtpy of coal by 2015. Coal federation Fenalcarbon said the railway project is a key initiative for coking coal miners that use trucks to transport coal more than 1,000 km along mountainous roads to Caribbean ports. Coking coal producers pay around $43/mt to transport coal from the inland state of Cundinamarca to Barranquilla. The rail route could cut costs to about $22/mt.
The 440 km railway line would originate in the coal rich area of Lenguazaque, Cundinamarca, and run to a river terminal near the city of Barrancabermeja. Coal would then be switched to barges and shipped on the Magdalena River to coal ports near Barranquilla, where companies are developing terminals. The Magdalena River will only be able to transport a third of the 15 million mtpy after dredging is carried out. The remaining 10 million mtpy will have to travel along the Pan American highway by truck until the government reopens the Central Railway.