Coal Age

JAN-FEB 2019

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24 www.coalage.com January/February 2019 2019 u.s. longwall census Longwall Production Remains Steady Fewer longwalls produce more coal Overall U.S. longwall production grew again in 2018. Collectively, this group of 35 highly productive underground coal operations generated 168.6 million tons, which was about 800,000 tons more than last year. In a year where the U.S. saw total coal production drop by 22 million tons, this is a positive sign. The total number of faces dropped from 42 to 40 and the total number of long- wall mines dropped from 37 to 35. Those figures include two trona mines in Wyo- ming and five mines that operated two longwall faces. Two longwall faces in West Virginia were removed, Federal No. 2 and Pinnacle No. 50, after those operations were closed last fall. Pinnacle No. 50 was the only plow face operating in the U.S. The top three longwall operations pro- duced more that 11 million tons per year (tpy) from two longwall faces. Foresight Energy's Sugar Camp mine set a new U.S. record for annual coal production from a longwall mine with more than 14.4 million tons in 2018. Last year, 14 longwall instal- lations produced at a capacity of 5 million tpy or more, compared to 16 in 2017. Sev- eral longwall mines reported significant drops in production (See Table 2). A new name appears this year, Wol- verine Fuels. In October 2018, Bowie Resource Partners moved its corporate headquarters from Grand Junction, Col- orado, to Sandy, Utah, and changed its name. Wolverine will continue to operate the SUFCO, Skyline and Dugout Canyon mines in Utah and the idled Bowie No. 2 mine in Colorado, and will also maintain a small regional office in Grand Junction. "In conjunction with the recent manage- ment changes and recapitalization of the company, we wanted to offer our employ- ees a fresh start and new identity with the name change," said James Grech, CEO, Wolverine Fuels. "Our workforce is tough and resilient, very much like a wolverine, so we think our new namesake will reso- nate very well with our employees and the communities in which we operate." Longwall ownership in the U.S. re- mained relatively unchanged. Robert E. Murray and the companies he controls (American Energy, American Coal Co., Foresight Energy, Utah American Ener- gy and MEC) operate 12 longwall faces spread across Illinois (4), Ohio (1), Utah (1) and West Virginia (6). CONSOL Energy op- erates five faces in Pennsylvania. Alliance Resource Partners, Arch Coal and Warrior Met Coal own three longwall faces. More recently, Peabody Energy pur- chased the Shoal Creek mine in Alabama from Drummond Coal for $387 million and the company plans to add it to its seaborne metallurgical portfolio. For 2019, Peabody said it expects the Shoal Creek mine to ship approximately 2.5 million tons of high-vol A metallurgical coal to Asian and Atlantic steel customers. The company said it has budgeted approximately $20 million and $10 million in 2019 and 2020, respective- ly, for capital improvements. Shoal Creek's costs are expected to range between $85/ ton and $95/ton. High-vol A met coal pric- es are currently $221 per metric ton. Last year, Shoal Creek produced more than 2.7 million tons, a 28% increase over 2017. CONSOL Energy's Pennsylvania Min- ing Complex (PAMC) operates three long- wall mines: Bailey (12.7 million tons), Enlow Fork (9.9 million tons) and Harvey (5 million tons). Bailey and Enlow Fork op- erate two longwalls each and all three are consistently ranked among the most pro- ductive coal operations in the nation. It was a year of many achievements, explained Jimmy Brock, CEO, CONSOL Energy. "We completed our first calendar year as an independent publicly traded coal company," Brock said. "In 2018, we also produced and sold more coal than in any other year throughout the PAMC's 35- year history. I am also pleased to announce that we have made significant improve- ments during 2018 on the safety front as well. Our total recordable incident rate at the PAMC for full-year 2018 has improved Table 1—Longwall Installations by Parent Company (2018-2019) Company Ala. Colo. Ill. Mont. N.M. Ohio Pa. Utah Va. W.Va. Wyo. Total Alliance Resource Partners 1 2 3 American Energy (MEC) 1 1 Arch Coal 1 2 3 Blue Mountain Energy 1 1 CONSOL Energy 5 5 Contura Energy 1 1 Coronado Coal 1 1 Foresight Energy (MEC) 4 4 Seneca Coal Resources 1 1 Murray American Energy (MEC) 6 6 Pacific Minerals 1 1 Panther Creek Mining 1 1 Peabody Energy 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 Wolverine Fuels 2 2 Total 5 3 5 1 1 1 6 3 1 11 3 40 by steve fiscor, editor-in-chief

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