Drummond Company Inc.
An Industry Leader
Inducted in 2007
A solid foundation in engineering has propelled Drummond Company Inc. to prominence not only in its primary business of coal production but also in the coke production industry and in real estate development. The company is recognized today as a leader in all three businesses.
Drummond Company dates back to 1935, when Heman Edward Drummond opened the company’s first mine on homesteaded land in Walker County, Alabama, near Sipsey. The initial underground mine utilized two mules and wagons. In 1937, an electric drill and an electric cutting machine were purchased, the first mechanization of the Drummond Mines. Since then, Drummond has progressed to the technologically advanced company it is today, utilizing state-of-the- art mining equipment, some designed and constructed by the company and its engineers.
Heman’s two older sons, Don and Segal, joined their father in work at the family mines during the early years. The three younger sons, Garry, Larry, and John, also joined the company as they completed school, and the company continues to operate as a privately owned business. Garry N. Drummond has been chief executive officer since 1973.
Heman Drummond died in 1956 at the age of 50, leaving his sons a rich heritage and a company that was doing approximately $1 million each year in sales. The sons had been well trained and prepared by their father to operate and grow the company.
A major step in the growth of Drummond Company was the signing of a $100 million contract in 1969 for the company’s first export sale: the delivery of coal to a Japanese steel company over the next five years. Drummond expanded rapidly in the 1970s to complete that contract and to compete for other domestic and export coal sales. Larger and more complex draglines replaced the earlier power shovels that had been used at surface mines to remove the waste material from the top of the coal seams.
In 1985, the company completed its acquisition of Alabama By-Products Corporation, which provided Drummond with its first large-scale underground coal mines and its entry into the production of coke for foundries and industrial users. The ABC Coke Division was created to preserve the equity in a nationally recognized name and the production leader in that industry.
Although Drummond Company and its affiliates own coal reserves throughout Alabama and the United States, Drummond’s mining operations are primarily at Mina Pribbenow, a huge open-pit coal mine located near La Loma in northern Colombia, South America. Associated infrastructure includes Puerto Drummond, a deepwater-ocean port on the Caribbean Sea near Santa Marta, Colombia; and the associated coal transportation and handling facilities, including ownership in the railroad that transports coal from the mine to the port. The company is in the process of developing a second mine, El Descanso, and plans to increase Colombian production to over 40 million tons per year during the next few years.
The company’s natural interest in land management led to its development of four outstanding real estate developments. These upscale-planned communities are Oakbridge, located in Lakeland, Florida; Liberty Park, in Vestavia Hills, Alabama; and two developments near Palm Springs, California: Rancho La Quinta and Andalusia at Coral Mountain.
The Drummond Company has a rich heritage and a strong foundation based on good engineering principles and practices, earning the company its place in the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.