Colombia's second-largest coal miner Cerrejon has resumed rail transport to a key export facility on the Caribbean coast as the two-week rail blockage by former employees ended, the company said on November 23.
The road blocks by former workers who left Cerrejon almost two years ago began on November 8, as they were demanding to reinstate their jobs with back pay for lost salary and a return of their benefits or compensation.
The blockade on the 150km railway ended on the afternoon. However, the blockage has had a significant socio-economic impact, including the loss of substantial government tax revenue.
Colombia's Congress on November 3 passed a tax reform bill that will increase taxes on coal and oil companies by up to 10% and 15%, respectively. The tax hike is an economic policy pursued by Gustavo Petro since he took office as Colombia's president in August, aimed at funding social programs and restoring the country's public finances to normal.
Blockades on roads and rail lines around the open pit mine - one of the largest in Colombia, which produced 23.4 million tonnes of coal last year - in the country's La Guajira province are not uncommon.
However, Cerrejon took the opportunity to build up coal stocks as it continued production during the 15 days of transport disruption. Stockpiles at the mine were already low before the blockage because of heavy rainfall.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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