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Only days after Colombia’s largest coal exporter, Cerrejon, signed a wage agreement to end a month long strike which had paralyzed exports and cost the government millions in lost royalties, unknown perpetrators used explosives to bomb the export railway, derailing 17 wagons full of coal.
Cerrejon, a joint venture company created by Anglo American (AAL-GB), BHP Billion (NYSE: BHP), and Xstrata (XTA-GB), released a statement saying that, “around 4:45 am (0945 GMT), the train, which headed towards the coal port of Puerto Bolivar, was attacked with explosives ... which produced the derailment of 17 wagons.”
No accusations have been made as the assailants remain unidentified, although security forces in the area normally blame the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC.
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At the end of last month four trucks were also attacked with explosives at Cerrejon’s Mina Sur mining complex in the province of Guajira, a region renowned for being a lawless, having a Wild West-type feel.
The FARC doesn’t actually have much of a presence in Guajira since right-wing groups led attacks against the guerrillas in the 2000’s, forcing them to retreat to the most remote areas. Now the most active groups in the province are criminal gangs which emerged after paramilitary groups were disbanded, and traditional cartels began to fall apart.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com