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LatinNews Daily - 05 February 2021

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In brief: Prodeco withdrawal stirs alarm in Colombia’s coal sector

* Coal mining company Prodeco, the Colombian subsidiary of Switzerland-based multinational Glencore, has announced the termination of operations in Colombia and said it will return its mining concessions to the government. Citing falling global coal prices, as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the growing demand for more sustainable energy sources, Prodeco announced that its two mines in Colombia (Calenturitas and La Jagua, both in Cesar department) are “no longer economically viable”. The company described this as a “disappointing outcome”, noting that it had invested more than US$3bn in mining operations in Colombia over the past 30 years. The announcement caused alarm in the country’s coal sector, a key pillar of the economy that has already been hit hard by the pandemic. The Asociación Colombiana de Minería (ACM) private sector mining lobby urged the government to provide emergency support to resuscitate the sector, while environmental groups have suggested that Colombia would be better served investing in renewable energy, rather than propping up the struggling coal industry.