Coal Age

JUL-AUG 2017

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Page 10 of 51

July/August 2017 9 news continued in months to check on the status of the mine's longwall mining system and other equipment. According to the state official, the longwall will have to be relocated before mining resumes. Deer Run produced 5.5 million tons of coal in 2014 and was on its way to being a major contributor for Foresight when MSHA ordered the mine closed on March 26, 2015, after elevated levels of carbon monoxide gas were found in the mine. That began months of uncertainty for the mine as the com- pany pumped nitrogen into Deer Run from the surface in an at- tempt to snuff out whatever fire or hotspot was burning hundreds of feet below. Finally, the company received permission from MSHA in ear- ly 2016 to temporarily seal the mine. Earlier this year, the federal agency gave its approval to Foresight to unseal Deer Run and start what could be a months-long evaluation period. As a result, Deer Run has produced coal only sporadically during the past two-plus years, turning out only 1.9 million tons in 2015 and even less in 2016. Foresight, meanwhile, is enjoying something of a resurgence this year. In the first quarter of 2017, the company produced 5.3 million tons, a nearly 41% increase over the same period a year ago. Exports accounted for much of the increase as they repre- sented 24% of the company's sales in Q1 2017 compared to only 14% in the January-March period of 2016. Foresight has another 18.6 million tons contracted for deliv- ery in the final nine months of 2017, company officials said during Foresight's Q1 recent earnings call. The company's Q1 2017 coal sales revenues of $227.8 million were significantly higher than the $163.1 million in the same period last year, when Foresight sold 3.8 million tons. Foresight, Illinois' largest coal producer, operates two other large longwall mines in the Midwestern state and a continuous miner operation. Ohio-based MEC owns a controlling stake in Foresight and is the largest privately owned coal company in the U.S. ILB Producers Expanding, Opening New Facilities Some of the largest steam coal producers in the high-sulfur Illi- nois Basin (ILB) are seeking to extend existing mines or open new operations as Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky attempt to claw back production lost over the last few years. ILB output in mid-June was up 17% year-over-year despite several major mines in the region remaining idle. Among them was Foresight Energy's Deer Run longwall mine near Hillsboro, Illinois. It largely has been inactive since March 26, 2015, when elevated levels of carbon monoxide were detected. Those read- ings have since dropped and the St. Louis-based company is in the process of reopening the mine. In southern Indiana, Alliance Resource Partners recently submitted an application to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Reclamation to renew a mining permit for its Gibson North underground mine near Princeton in Gibson County. The mine has been idled for more than two years because of market conditions, and it's uncertain when — or if — the com- pany plans to resume production there. Alliance continues to produce coal from the Gibson South underground mine, a "sister" operation, less than a mile away. Continued from p. 7... Taekwang Power Holdings will spearhead the project in a consortium with Korean companies. Posco Engineering & Con- struction Co. will construct the thermal power plant, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. will supply equipments, and state- run Korea Southern Power Co. will aid the operation. State-run Ex- port-Import Bank of Korea and Korea Trade Insurance Corp. will back the fi nance. Poles Reform Coal Sector The Polish government plans to organize its coal mines into three large regional groups (Gornoslaska, Malopolska and Wschodnia), which entails further reshuffl ing at state coal companies, the daily Puls Biznesu wrote, calling out major elements of the coal sector program to 2030 presented June 26. The fi rst group will comprise PGG and Bobrek-Piekary mine from Weglokoks, the second will cov- er listed power group Tauron's mining unit Wydobycie, and the third will be Enea's listed coal mining unit, Bogdanka. Coking coal miner JSW will form the fourth, coal-and-coke group. Preliminary Engineering Design Work Starts for Crown Mountain Coking Coal Project in Canada Jameson Resources has authorized preliminary design engineering for the Crown Mountain Coking Coal project. Spoil and refuse dis- posal techniques are an important component of open-pit mining, as they affect many facets of the environment including wildlife habitat, water quality and aquatic life. Jameson has selected two leading expert fi rms in this subject. SRK Consulting of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Enviromin Inc. of Bozeman, Montana, will team with SRK. Jameson said Enviromin has particularly valuable skills regarding successful mitigation of water quality issues re- lated to selenium associated with open-pit mining. The company previously announced it had awarded Dillon Consulting, of Richmond, British Columbia, the initial stages of preparation of the application for an EA certifi cate. That work is being performed concurrent with several environmental fi eld pro- grams at Crown Mountain over the next several months, with the aim of keeping Crown Mountain on track with the project devel- opment schedule contained in the recently released prefeasibility study update. Blair Athol to Deliver First Sales Soon TerraCom through its wholly owned subsidiary Orion Mining Pty Ltd. (Orion) has successfully recommissioned the Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland and is on track to deliver fi rst sales in August. Orion will rapidly ramp up to an approximately 2-million-metric-ton-per- year (mtpy) annualized rate in early fourth-quarter 2017. Mining and rehabilitation activities have progressed on sched- ule to meet the fi rst coal sale timeline. Bulk earthworks have com- menced on the rehabilitation element of the operation, which is being conducted in accordance with the requirements defi ned in the environmental authority. Initial overburden has been removed and placed in its fi nal position to facilitate the fi rst coal extraction. The fi rst month's coal production has been surveyed insitu and the entire site is being readied for the fi rst coal sale. Key activities performed or commenced enabling successful and sustainable operations include safety and health manage- ment system integration and enactment, facilities recommission, full mobile fl eet upgrade, site road maintenance, and commence- ment of the dragline overhaul.

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