BOGOTA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Colombia's coal output rose 17.6 percent to 23.4 million tonnes in the third quarter, the Energy and Mining Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Andean nation, the world's fifth-largest coal exporter, produced 19.9 million tonnes in the same period a year ago, the ministry said. The sector is seeking to produce 85.5 million tonnes this year, a level similar to last year.
The ministry did not provide a reason for the increase in output.
The biggest players in Colombia's coal industry are Drummond Co, Glencore Plc, Murray Energy's Colombia Natural Resources, and Cerrejon, which is jointly owned by BHP Billiton , Anglo American PLC and Glencore. (Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Matthew Lewis)