BOGOTA, March 7 (Reuters) - Alabama-based coal miner Drummond has hired Goldman Sachs to explore investor interest in the possible sale of at least a portion of its operations in Colombia, a company source said on Wednesday.
Colombia, the world's fifth-largest exporter of coal, produced 89.4 million tonnes of the fuel last year. Drummond was the country's largest thermal coal producer and exporter in 2017, with output of 32.4 million tonnes and exports of 32.3 million tonnes.
The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, did not confirm how much of its stake in Colombia the company may want to sell.
"They are exploring the interest of investors to see if there is interest in the company's coal assets in Colombia," the source said.
Drummond sold 20 percent of its stake in the Andean country for $1.5 billion in 2011 to Japan's Itochu. The company said at the time it had looked into selling outright.
Asia is a major market for Colombian coal.
Besides Drummond, the biggest players in Colombia's coal industry are Glencore Plc, Murray Energy Corp's Colombia Natural Resources, and Cerrejon, which is jointly owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American PLC and Glencore. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb)