BOGOTA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Colombia’s coal production will decline to around 80 million tonnes in 2019, nearly 5% below last year’s, because of low prices and drought that has impeded output in some mines, the Colombian Mining Association said on Friday.
The Andean country, the world’s fourth-largest exporter of the fuel, produced just above 84 million tonnes in 2018.
The government and the country’s principal coal miners had previously said they anticipated output would remain steady.
“This year we are seeing that through December Colombia will have an output close to 80 million tonnes, 4 million tonnes less,” said association head Juan Camilo Narino. “The reality is of lower production and fewer exports.”
Colombia produced 18.9 million tonnes in the second quarter, the government said last week, down 4.5% from the same period a year earlier.
Production has been pressured by low prices, climate conditions that affected projects near the northern Caribbean coast and judicial restrictions that have limited work at some projects, the government has said.
Coal is the second-largest generator of foreign exchange revenue in Colombia, behind oil, and its top mining export. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta in Bogota Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Matthew Lewis)