Colombia’s coal production grew by 15.4% in 2011 to 85.8 million metric tons (mt) versus the previous year while exports rose 16% to 79.2 million mt, according to The world’s No. 4 coal exporter is experiencing a boom in mining investment thanks to a U.S. funded security crackdown on illegal armed groups that has made it safer to explore for and mine coal.

Colombia’s No. 2 coal exporter Drummond saw output at its La Loma and El Descanso mines increase 9.5% to 23 million mt last year versus 2010. Output at Glencore’s Prodeco unit went up 44% to 14.4 million mt in 2011 versus 2010. Production in the Guajira state where El Cerrejon, the country’s largest exporter, has four of five licenses to mine increased 7% to 33.3 million mt in the same period.