Colombia extends Drummond contract on coal mine for 20 years

BOGOTA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Colombia has extended coal miner Drummond's license to operate its La Loma mine for an additional 20 years, the national mining agency said on Thursday.

The contract at the mine, located in northeastern Cesar province, will generate at least $586 million in royalties, income and social project investment during its lifetime, the agency said in a statement on its website.

Drummond is Colombia's largest exporter of coal.

The new contract will begin in May, Drummond said in a statement. The company has operated the mine for more than 30 years and along with its transportation operations provides some 5,200 direct jobs, it added.

"This contract represented 30 percent of Drummond's mining operation production in 2018 in Colombia," the company said. "The area of this renewed concession has proven reserves of approximately 60.5 million tons."

Besides Drummond, the biggest players in Colombia's coal industry are Glencore's Prodeco, Murray Energy Corp's Colombia Natural Resources, and Cerrejon, which is jointly owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American Plc and Glencore. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)