Blockade hits operations at Colombia coal mine Cerrejon

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BOGOTA, April 5 (Reuters) -The blockade of a rail line and the entrance to an export terminal used by coal miner Cerrejon in Colombia's far northeast is affecting the company's operations, it said on Wednesday, without providing more details.

The blockade is being led by residents from three communities in Media Luna in La Guajira province, Cerrejon said in a statement.

Cerrejon, which is owned by Anglo-Swiss commodities giant Glencore GLEN.L, is under a court order to comply with environmental and health requirements, including by reaching agreements with nearby Wayuu indigenous communities.

The blockade is an effort by communities to win a "disproportionate agreement" under the ruling, the Cerrejon statement said. The company has already signed 302 agreements, including 11 with communities in Media Luna, it said.

"Operations are being affected," a Cerrejon spokesperson told Reuters, without offering further details.

The blockade began two days ago, they added.

Blockades of roads, the rail line and other Cerrejon facilities are common and regularly result in losses for the company.

Cerrejon and Wayuu communities have long-running disputes over water use and pollution, dust, noise and health issues.

In 2020 a U.N. Special Rapporteur said the mine should suspend some operations on health and environmental concerns, a call which Cerrejon rejected.

The company remains open to dialogue, it said in the statement, adding it hopes for government help to lift the blockade.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Grant McCool


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