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Drummond Shuts Colombia Coal Mines After Death, Union Says

Drummond Co. extended a shutdown at two coal mines in Colombia into a third day after an accident caused the death of a worker.

Drummond, based in Birmingham, Alabama, closed its El Descanso and Pribbenow mines in northern Colombia after the Nov. 6 incident, Raul Sosa, president of the Sintramienergetica union that represents mine workers, said today by telephone.

The mines last year exported 24 million metric tons of thermal coal to power utilities abroad, almost one-third of output in Colombia, South America’s largest supplier of the fuel. Drummond is investing to expand production to 25 million tons a year at El Descanso, from 3 million tons at present.

Colombian coal exports jumped 37 percent in September to 7.2 million tons, reversing declines in earlier months when rainstorms affected mines. The nation produced 74.4 million tons of the fuel in 2010, according to government figures.

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