February 13, 2018 / 2:52 PM / 7 months ago

Colombia bomb halts Cerrejon coal train; output, exports unaffected

BOGOTA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - The railway line of Colombia's largest coal mine, Cerrejon, was attacked with explosives overnight, causing the train to halt transport but without affecting production or exports, the company reported on Tuesday.

The attack occurred late on Monday in northern La Guajira province where the open-pit coal mine is located.

"At kilometer 27 an explosive device detonated on the railway line causing damage to the rails and tracks, but fortunately the incident didn't affect people or equipment," Cerrejon said in a statement.

While military authorities and Cerrejon declined to reveal who was responsible, the attack took place during an offensive by the National Liberation Army (ELN), a Marxist guerrilla group.

Peace talks with the ELN were suspended earlier this month by President Juan Manuel Santos after a series of attacks on oil infrastructure and police targets, killing eight officials.

The company said it has started repairing the 150-kilometer railway line along which trains transport coal from the mine to Puerto Bolivar, on the Caribbean coast.

Cerrejon, which is jointly owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Glencore, has more than 5,000 employees and produces more than 30 million tons of thermal coal annually. (Reporting by Luis jaime Acosta; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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