Drummond Company

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Drummond Company, Inc.
FounderHeman Edward Drummond
HeadquartersBirmingham, Alabama, USA
Key people
Michael J. Tracy, Chief Executive Officer industry = Coal Mining
ProductsCoal, By-Products, and Real Estate
RevenueIncrease$5.00 billion USD (2016)
Number of employees
5,100 (2016)

Drummond Company, Inc. is a privately owned company based in Birmingham, Alabama, United States, involved in the mining and processing of coal and coal products as well as oil and real estate.


Belt conveyor for coal transportation owned and operated by Drummond Company, located between the city of Santa Marta and the town of Cienaga by the Caribbean sea in Colombia.

The company was founded in Jasper, Alabama in 1935 by Heman Edward Drummond, an Alabama coal miner.[1][2][3] Drummond started mining on land he inherited from his family; he used mules to drag coal out of the mines.[1] When Drummond died in 1956, the company remained family-owned.[1]

In 1970, the company signed a contract to sell coal to Japanese steel companies.[4][clarification needed]

In 1973, Garry N. Drummond, one of the founder's seven children, was appointed as Chairman.[2] Another son, Elbert Allen "Larry" Drummond served as Vice Chairman until his death in 2012.[5] During 1979-1980, these Drummond brothers, along with company executive Clyde Black, were indicted for bribing three Alabama legislators, by means of supplying them with prostitutes.[6][7][8][9] The three-month trial was dismissed by Judge Frank McFadden.[6][7]

In 2003, the company was sued by Colombian widows and orphans of three labor union leaders who were murdered by paramilitaries near Drummond mines.[10] The lawsuit accused Drummond of "supporting paramilitary fighters at its facilities, thereby making Drummond liable for the deaths."[10] It was known as Estate of Rodriquez v. Drummond Co.. By 2009, the United States Department of Justice had not found sufficient evidence and ruled in favor of the company, concluding that it had never supported any action of illegal groups.[11]

In February 2013, journalist Alejandro Arias reported with photographic evidence dumping of hundreds of tons of coal into the Caribbean Sea by the company a month earlier.[12] Based on this evidence the Colombian Government temporarily suspended some operations of the company in Santa Marta where the incident occurred.[12] Drummond was also fined US$3.6 million.[13]

As of December 2013, the company employed a workforce of 6,600, with annual sales of US$3 billion.[2] It was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.[1]

In 2015, the Drummond Company sued attorneys Terrence P. Collingsworth and William R. Scherer, the advocacy group International Rights Advocates (IRAdvocates), and Dutch businessman Albert van Bilderbeek, one of the owners of Llanos Oil, accusing them of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by alleging that Drummond had worked alongside Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia to murder labor union leaders within proximity of their Colombian coal mines, which Drummond denies.[14]

In October 2018, David Roberson, previously the company's vice-president of government affairs, was sentenced to "two-and-a-half years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release", and fined $25,000 for his July 2018 convictions, alongside those of attorney Joel Iverson Gilbert (formerly, a partner active in Balch & Bingham's Environmental and Natural Resources section), on "six criminal charges each relating to a scheme intended to stop expansion of a toxic cleanup site in Jefferson County by the Environmental Protection Agency", through a bribe to former basketball player, then state legislator Oliver Robinson (who was also convicted), through use of his nonprofit organization, The Oliver Robinson Foundation. Roberson maintained that he "trusted Joel" [Gilbert] and "never thought we were bribing Oliver Robinson."[15]

Assets and operations[edit]

Coal mines[edit]

Drummond operates the Shoal Creek mine in northwestern part of Jefferson County in Alabama.[16] Output from Shoal Creek is sold to Alabama Power under long-term supply contracts.

It operated the Pribbenow and El Descanso mines near La Loma in the Cesar Department in northern Colombia. Both mines produce bituminous coal. Production from Pribbenow, comprising almost 50% of all coal mined in Colombia, is exported to 11 countries. The company is "Colombia’s second-biggest thermal coal producer."[17]

Perry Supply[edit]

The company owns Perry Supply, a subsidiary founded in 1913, which sells "mining, foundry, construction, and industrial supplies."[18]

Foundry coke[edit]

The company also owns Alabama By-Products Corporation, also known as ABC Coke, located in Tarrant, Alabama.[2] According to Forbes, it is "the largest single producer of foundry coke in the U.S.."[2] Starting 2015, Drummond funneled money though its law firm Balch & Bingham to a retired state legislator Oliver Robinson. In exchange for over a hundred thousand dollars, Robinson encouraged poor people in the area not to cooperate with the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to list areas of north Birmingham as a superfund site due to pollution caused by ABC. In 2017 Robinson plead guilty to various corruption charges.[19]

Jasper Oil[edit]

The company owns Jasper Oil, a subsidiary founded in 1967, which produces both diesel and refined gasoline.[20]

Real estate[edit]

The company manages "four luxury planned communities in Alabama, Florida and California."[4] In 1985, they developed their first community: Oakbridge in Lakeland, Florida.[3] Over the years, they developed Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, as well as Rancho La Quinta and Andalusia at Coral Mountain in La Quinta, California.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame: DRUMMOND COMPANY INC.
  2. ^ a b c d e America's Largest Private Companies: #162 Drummond, Forbes
  3. ^ a b Ronnie Blair, 'The Drummonds: Close-Knit, Self-Made Men', Lakeland Ledger, May 12, 1985
  4. ^ a b Forbes: Garry Drummond
  5. ^ E.A. "LARRY" DRUMMOND, The Birmingham News, August 1, 2012
  6. ^ a b Anthony Effinger, Matthew Bristow, Alabama Billionaire Battles Murder Suits as Prices Ebb, Bloomberg Business, July 16, 2013
  7. ^ a b Daniel Fisher, Alabama Coal Baron Uncovers Evidence Of Witness Payments In Attack On Lawyer, Forbes, June 6, 2014
  8. ^ "Jurors questioned in racketeering trial". The Index-Journal (Greenwood, South Carolina). May 8, 1980. p. 25. Retrieved July 15, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ "Probe of Coal Crime Continues". The Index-Journal (Greenwood, South Carolina). July 9, 1980. p. 17. Retrieved July 15, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ a b Pui-Wing Tam, Marc Lifsher, Colombian Killings Land U.S. Company In American Court: Mining Concern Faces Suit Over Right-Wing Attacks; New Life for a 1789 Act, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2003
  11. ^ Corte Federal de EE.UU falla a favor de Drummond dos demandas de sindicatos colombianos
  12. ^ a b El periodista que puso en jaque a la Drummond, Semana (Colombia)
  13. ^ Dan Molinski, Colombia Fines Drummond for Dumping Coal, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2013
  14. ^ Kent Faulk, Drummond sues those claiming coal company involved in Colombian deaths, The Birmingham News, April 8, 2015
  15. ^ Hrynkiw, Ivana "Former Drummond V.P. and Balch lawyer sentenced to federal prison", AL.com, Advance Local Media LLC., October 23, 2018. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  16. ^ Drummond Company: Mines
  17. ^ Matthew Bristow, Colombia’s Top Coal Mine Reaches Accord That May End Strike, Bloomberg Business, March 4, 2013
  18. ^ Drummond Company: Perry Supply
  19. ^ Whitemore, Kyle (12 May 2017). "Lawmaker under investigation after taking money, fighting Superfund cleanup of toxic neighborhoods". AL.Com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  20. ^ Drummond Company: Our products: Jaspel Oil