MINING giant Xstrata is the front-runner in an auction worth around £5bn for Colombia’s second biggest coal miner.
Alabama-based Drummond put its Colombian coal mining operations up for auction last summer, attracting interest from Xstrata as well as Rio Tinto, Vale, Glencore and mining investment vehicle Vallar.
However, auction-runner Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) extended the bid deadline after Xstrata was the only firm to table a fully-financed deal.
A spokesperson for Xstrata declined to comment, while BAML and Drummond did not return calls for comment yesterday.
Drummond, which is privately owned by a family of the same name, produced 21.7m tonnes of Colombian coal in 2009, making it the second-largest exporter in the country.