The Business Year

Colombia has become the natural supplier of coke in the region, given the enormous demand from Brazil and Mexico.

Carlos Parra

General Manager, C.I. Milpa S.A.

We produce around 7 million tons of coal per year in the center of the country, out of which 6 million is metallurgic coal. At present, there are a few new projects that offer an interesting opportunity for foreign investors; however, it is important to guarantee the proper legal stability of Colombian legislation to support these investments. In order for the sector to be interesting for foreign investment, Colombia needs need to increase its coal production. That requires a great deal of new exploration programs, because there are many reserves in the center of the country and areas to be explored. In 2019, we will focus on winning more mining projects and widening our mine portfolio of metallurgic coal. In the long term, we need to carry out environmental and production improvements to our processes in the coming years. Our largest market is Brazil, followed by Mexico. Other important markets are Turkey, Europe, and Argentina. Other countries also import metallurgical coke with other specifications, but in smaller numbers. Moving forward, Milpa is extremely interested in Brazil and Mexico’s growth as potential markets, and it is competitive in terms of maritime transport in Europe, up until Turkey. India is an important buyer in the global market, though we cannot compete there with China.

Mauricio Cárdenas

Vice President, Carbones Andinos

Our industry faced a difficult period from 2012 to mid-2016. We were only able to restart our full operation in 2018, when we consolidated as main coke suppliers in the regional market, mainly Brazil and Mexico. We have been growing constantly. In 2018, we started two main expansion projects that will keep us busy for the next three years. Technological improvements oriented toward environmental and safety standards are our main goal in the short term. The industry already features cutting-edge technologies in mining development and washing plants. Our main export product has been metallurgical coal. It is a key supportive raw material, and Colombia has excellent reserves. Although Australia is the main player, Colombia is in great shape for the future. Quality is the top issue that we are taking care of. Logistics is another factor that plays a vital role; transit time for a vessel from Colombia to Brazil is 14 days, whereas it can be double or triple for our competitors in China, Poland, and Russia. Historically, Colombia has been a major processor of high-quality coal, and coke and is now considered a long-term reliable supplier of met coke and coal due to improved technology, vast metallurgical coal deposits, and excellent quality.

Juan Manuel Sánchez

CEO, Juan Manuel Sánchez

Carbocoque was the first company to internationalize the metallurgical coal and coke business in Colombia. In the last 15 years, we sought to position our company as a reliable and long-term supplier. It has not been easy, though we have achieved it. Today, Colombia is the third-largest exporter of coke worldwide. Carbocoque contributed 500,000 tons to the 2.5 million tons exported by Colombia in 2018. Our natural markets are America and Europe. Our main markets are Mexico, Brazil, Germany, England, and Turkey. We have a diversification market for by-products, especially in India. The size of Carbocoque allows us to reach customers that have a specific value because they accept vessels of the size that we carry and accept the quality that we produce. We have an expansion program for the next two years to reach 600,000 tons of coke production and develop our markets in Mexico, Brazil, and Europe. The sector generates 25,000 direct jobs and 125,000 indirect ones. There are at least 40 small cities dedicated exclusively to underground coal and coke mining, and the levels of sustainability here are extremely high. The industry has growth potential, although not that rapidly because such mining is not easy.

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