El Descanso mine

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This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.

El Descanso mine or Mina El Descanso is located in northern Colombia, near the El Paso municipality in the Cesar Department of Colombia.[1] When mining began, the mine was considered the largest in the country and one of the largest in the world.[2][3]


The satellite photo below shows the location of Mina El Descanso, located between the municipalities of Becerril and Agustín Codazzi.[4]

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El Descanso was bought by Drummond from EcoCarbonin 1997.[5][6] It was the company's second mine when it began operation in 2009.[4] In August 2010 Drummond stated that it planned to expand the mine from its "current capacity of 3 million tonnes per year to 25 million tonnes per year over the next three years." The company also stated that this would require the expansion of the Puerto Drummond coal port which handles coal from both El Descanso mine and the company's La Loma mine. In a media release, the company stated that it has "committed to the government to build a direct ship loader" at Puerto Drummond.[7]

Coal Spill

According to Wood Mackenzie, "In 2013, a barge ferrying coal at Puerto Drummond overturned and sunk. The incident resulted in the Colombian government suspending Drummond's export license for nearly a month and implementing a new regulation requiring direct ship loading as [of] 1 January 2014."[6]

Project Details

  • Owner: Drummond Ltd
  • Parent company: Drummond International LLC[8]
  • Location: between the municipalities of Becerril and Agustín Codazzi, in Cesar Department of Colombia[4][2][1]
  • GPS coordinates: 9.7050912, -73.5231884
  • Mine status: Operating[4]
  • Start year: 2009[4][5]
  • Mineable reserves: 1.7 billion tons[5]
  • Coal type:
  • Mine size: 42,800 hectares[2]
  • Mine type: Surface
  • Production: 50 million tons per year[2]
  • Additional proposed production:
  • Equipment:
  • Number of employees:2,496[8]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Drummond Ltd. Colombia mines organizational website, accessed Nov. 8, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 El Tiempo Orginal: Drummond comenzó a explotar el carbón en El Descanso, Cesar Translation: Drummond began to exploit coal in El Descanso, Cesar El Tiempo July 31, 2008
  3. El Espectador original: Drummond inicia exportaciones de carbón de mina El Descanso translation: Drummond starts coal exports from El Descanso mine elespectador.com June 11, 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Drummond ltd about operational website, accessed Nov 8, 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Drummond ltd timeline organizational site, accessed Nov. 8, 2019
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wood Mackenzie El Descanso coal mine Asset Report, August 30 2018
  7. Drummond "Drummond Limited Plans new development", Media Release, August 21, 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Drummond Ltd 2017 Annual report corporate document, accessed Nov. 8, 2019

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