Where Coal Is Still Alive and Well

Colombia is set to produce a record of more than 90 million tons of the fossil fuel this year, its biggest export after oil.
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Colombia continues to bet on coal, even as global demand tapers off because the world is switching to cleaner fuels. Nearly all Colombia's exports are produced by three multinationals near the Caribbean coast—Drummond Co. Inc., Glencore Plc and Cerrejon. In the interior, however, smaller operations such as these these produce fuel mainly for domestic consumption. Photographer Nicolo’ Filippo Rosso traveled to Cundinamarca Department to document a coal mining town for Bloomberg News. 

Coal is piled at a distribution center at a mine in Cundinamarca Department in central Colombia, from where it will be trucked to clients in the steel industry.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

Velasquez, 70, who is also a musician, says he has worked in the mine most of his life.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

Velasquez  shows pieces of coal he'll take down the mountain to sell to people who cook and sell food in the streets.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

Miners push a wagon loaded with coal by hand. They can earn from $300 to $850 per month.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

Soot covers wild limes that grow inside the mine's perimeter.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

Three miners pray before the morning shift starts, then cross themselves for protection before entering the pit.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

A furnace in which coal is used to produce coke.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

Ingenieria Minera SAS workers descend into the mine in a wagon.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

A coal miner washes and changes at the end of his shift.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

A truck loaded with fuel leaves the distribution center.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

A woman manually culls rocks and stones from the coal.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

A donkey awaits sacks of coal for people that live near the mine and use it for heating and cooking.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg

A truck loaded with coal, seen from another carrier.

Photographer: Nicolo' Filippo Rosso/Bloomberg