Vale’s thermal coal operations are a fully -integrated mine-railway-port system that includes 100% of the El Hatillo coal mine and the Cerro Largo coal deposit, 100% of Sociedad Portuaria Rio Cordoba (SPRC), and an 8.43% equity participation in the railway Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia S.A. (FENOCO).

It is part of the larger efforts to optimize the company’s asset portfolio. Vale is keen to keep its asset allocation and management attention in sharp focus, to stay on the growth trajectory.

The largest privately held company in Latin America had bought the now-sold assets in 2008 for $308m, representing a 24% appreciation in its value.

Vale’s Colombian mines were reportedly smaller and less efficient than those of the other major coal producers, including Colombian Natural Resources.

Drummond and Glencore were also in the running to buy Vale’s mines but as early as February the Goldman Sachs controlled Colombia Natural Resources was reported to be ahead in the race to win the bid.

It currently owns a stake in the railways and mines of the same region. The Colombian government is to put the final seal of approval before the transaction is completed.