By Oliver Griffin
BOGOTA, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Colombia's mining production and exports rose in 2021 from the previous year, the Colombian Mining Association (ACM) said on Friday, while forecasting mineral output will increase by 10% this year.
The Andean country's coal production rose to 59.6 million tonnes in 2021, up from 49.3 million tonnes the prior year, the ACM said, based on information taken from various government sources, including the DANE statistics agency and the National Mining Agency (ANM).
Total mining exports rose 22% to $13.4 billion, the ACM said.
Colombia's output of coal - an important source of income for the government - is expected to increase by around 7 million tonnes in 2022, ACM president Juan Camilo Narino said during a press conference.
"Our projections for this area are that (coal production) will grow by some degree, reaching something close to 66 million or 67 million tonnes," he said.
The South American country's coal production fell some 40% in 2020 amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a 91-day strike at major mine Cerrejon.
Gold production rose to 2.5 million troy ounces in 2021, the ACM said, up from 1.5 million troy ounces in 2020. A troy ounce weighs 31.10 grams, while a regular ounce weighs 28.35 grams.
Narino lamented Colombia's low copper production. According to the ACM, production in 2021 hit 12,000 tonnes, up from 9,300 tonnes in 2020.
"Regarding copper, well, Colombia continues to have very low, very small, production," he said.
Last year, Colombia's environmental licensing authority shelved a request from South African-listed miner AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. ANGJ.J for the Quebradona copper mine, leading the company to say the project would face delays.
"It's vital that Colombia has a perspective of copper production within four years, it's vital for everyone," Narino said.
Government figures for 2021 mining production are expected later this month.
(Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
((Oliver.Griffin@thomsonreuters.com; +57 304-583-8931;))
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