Sunday, April 13, 2014

Colombia: US Mining Company Drummond Sustains a Vessel Sinking, Government Fines Drummond

According to EFE, the US mining company Drummond reported Saturday (April 12) the shipwreck of a vessel that was helping with construction work at this multinational coal company’s port on the Colombian Caribbean, though nothing has been said about the possible environmental impact of the accident.

Drummond said in a communique that the vessel, La Ballena, was shipwrecked Friday (April 11) and that its two crew members were rescued in good health.

The barge was transporting construction material for work on a freight wharf at Port Drummond in the municipality of Cienaga in the northern Colombian province of Magdalena.

COMMENT: Company sources consulted by EFE said the accident is still under investigation and that all safety and environmental regulations for recovering the vessel have been complied with.

The accident occurred just after the Constitutional Court of Colombia ordered Drummond last Wednesday to apply a series of measures to reduce the effects on the local population of the northern Pribbenow Mine in El Paso.

In addition, last April 1, 2013, Drummond completed the suspension imposed on the loading and unloading of coal at its port as a penalty for failing to comply with environmental regulations in the process, and for which it was ordered to restructure the wharf.

Last December (2013) the Colombian government fined several Drummond companies 6,965 million pesos (some $3.58 million) for coal pollution in the bay of Santa Marta, capital of Magdalena province.

The pollution occurred on Jan. 12, 2012, when a company barge on the verge of sinking dumped several tons of coal offshore at Santa Marta, one of the main tourist attractions on the Colombian Caribbean.

Drummond produces annually some 24 million tons of coal that it exports from its own port at Cienega, a town near Santa Marta.