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Colombian coal miners’ strike drives Drummond to call partial force majeure

Drumond, the second-largest coal producer in Colombia, declared a partial force majeure Thursday as its workers complete the second day of an indefinite strike started July 23.

The US coal miner’s decision will impact a limited number of buyers, reports Reuters, as it only affects cargoes that were in the vicinity of the loading port.

Drummond, which has two mines and a port in Colombia, and the Sintramienergetica union, representing 50% of Drummond’s roughly 10,000 workers, had been in negotiations for weeks over wages and proposed job cuts for port workers to start early next year.

Colombia’s coal industry was hit by strikes and clashes between coal companies and unions earlier this year. In February, workers at Drummond’s rival coal miner, Cerrejón, walked out after months of negotiations.

Cerrejón, a consortium owned by BHP Billiton Ltd. (ASX: BHP)(LON: BHP)(NYSE: BHP), Xstrata Plc (LON:XTA) and Anglo American (LON:AAL)was forced to declare force majeure on many of its cargoes.

Under Colombian law, strikes can last for up to 60 days before the matter is taken to an arbitration tribunal, which will automatically lift the strike.