Coal Age

JAN-FEB 2017

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26 www.coalage.com January-February 2017 U.S. Longwall Census U.S. Longwall Operations: How Slow Can We Go? Anticipating a recovery in 2017, longwall mines sit in a holding pattern As was noted in the 2017 Forecast Survey, the U.S. coal business posted its worst year in 40 years from a production perspective, declining 17% in 2016. Similarly, total long- wall production experienced a double-dig- it decrease. Collectively, U.S. longwall installations produced nearly 153 million tons in 2016, a 17.5% decrease over 2015. The four top-producing longwall com- plexes operate two faces each, and three of them produced more than 10 million tons. Last year, 11 longwall installations pro- duced at a capacity of 5 million tons per year (tpy) or more, compared to 17 in 2015. This year, two longwall faces were re- moved. Bowie Resource Partners closed and sealed the Bowie No. 2 mine in Colorado, and American Coal's New Era mine is no lon- ger operating a longwall face in Illinois. Year- on-year, the total number of longwall mines dropped to 38 from 40. Similarly, the number of longwall faces dropped to 43 from 45. Five mines operate two longwall faces. The new names that appear on the 2017 U.S. Longwall Census include Contu- ra Energy, CNX Coal Resources, Coronado Coal and Panther Creek Mining. Contura Energy, the company that emerged from the Alpha Natural Resources bankruptcy, operates the Cumberland mine in Pennsyl- vania. CNX Resources operates CONSOL Energy's longwall mines. Coronado pur- chased the Buchanan longwall mine from CONSOL Energy last year. Panther Creek purchased the American Eagle mine from Patriot Coal during its bankruptcy sale. Robert E. Murray and the companies he controls (American Energy, American Coal, Foresight Energy and Murray Ameri- can Energy) operate 14 longwall faces spread across Illinois (5), Ohio (2), Utah (1) and West Virginia (6). Two of Murray's mines, Deer Run in Illinois and the Pow- hatan No. 6 in Ohio, are listed as idle. CNX Coal Resources is the No. 2 longwall pro- ducer with three mines and five faces in Pennsylvania. Alliance Resource Partners, Arch Coal, ERP Compliant Fuels and War- rior Met Coal operate three longwall faces. Operational Developments Mining more than 12 million tons in 2016, CNX Coal Resources' Bailey mine returned to the top position this year. CNX Coal Resources holds a 25% interest in and operational control over CONSOL Energy's Pennsylvania mining complex, which includes the Bailey, Enlow Fork and Harvey mines, and the related infra- structure. "The CNXC team performed ex- tremely well on multiple fronts during the fourth quarter of 2016," said Jimmy Brock, CEO, CNX Coal Resources. "The opera- tional team responded to the opportuni- ties created in the domestic and seaborne markets and produced record volumes this quarter for the Pennsylvania mining complex. Our marketing team delivered these record production volumes to our customers as coal regained market share from natural gas and coal export markets remained strong." "For the Pennsylvania mining com- plex in its entirety, we were also successful in reducing the severity of our exceptions compared to the same period last year," Brock said. "Safety remains our top core value and we continue to strive for further improvements." "Our operations team delivered record production for the quarter despite two longwall moves," Brock said. "With do- mestic and international demand remain- ing strong throughout the quarter, our marketing team was successful in lining up a record shipment schedule. The op- erations team took advantage of this op- portunity and mobilized additional shifts during the weekends and typical holiday shutdown periods." Table 1—Longwall Installations by Parent Company (2016-2017) Company Ala. Colo. Ill. Mont. N.M. Ohio Pa. Utah Va. W.Va. Wyo. Total Alliance Resource Partners 1 2 3 AmCoal (MEC) 1 1 American Energy (MEC) 1 1 Arch Coal 1 2 3 Blue Mountain Energy 1 1 Bowie Resource Partners 2 2 CNX Coal Resources 5 5 Coronado Coal 1 1 Drummond 1 1 ERP Compliant Fuels 1 1 Foresight Energy (MEC) 4 4 Murray American Energy (MEC) 6 6 Ohio Valley Coal (MEC) 1 1 Pacific Minerals 1 1 Panther Creek Mining 1 1 Peabody Energy 1 1 Seneca Coal Resources (ERP) 1 1 2 Signal Peak Energy 1 1 Solvay Chemicals 1 1 Tronox Alkali Co. 1 1 UtahAmerican Energy (MEC) 1 1 Warrior Met Coal 3 3 Westmoreland Coal 1 1 Total 5 3 6 1 1 2 5 3 1 13 3 43

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