Coal Age

DEC 2012

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news continued approximately 145 employees. Operations impacted include the company's Wiley surface mine, Wiley Creek surface mine, Minway surface mine, Minway prep plant and Miller Creek administrative group, all located in Mingo County, W.Va. The layoffs will occur prior to the end of 2012. Underground operations will not be affected. To date in 2012, the Miller Creek complex has produced 1.55 million tons of coal; 83% is produced by surface operations. CONSOL Energy attributed the decision to permitting delays. The company received news October 29 that the Environmental Protection Agency objected to the company's 402 permit, however, that permit alone is not sufficient to allow miners to begin work. "The decision to idle our Miller Creek surface operations is a difficult one for several reasons," said Nick DeIuliis, president, CONSOL Energy. "The facility has operated without a lost-time accident since 1986, an exemplary safety record for the mining industry, and it is unfortunate that they will not be afforded the opportunity to extend that record. The failure to obtain timely permits despite our efforts in planning and cooperating with multiple agencies of jurisdiction is frustrating and is having a direct impact not only on these employees and their families, but on all state residents." "CONSOL Energy has been working under a Memorandum of Understanding together with the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the West Virginia Departments of Highways and Environmental Protection and the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority since 2007 to secure the permits for development of our Buffalo Mountain mine project on which the King Coal Highway was planned for post-mine use land," said DeIuliis. "It was there we were planning to reassign our workforce once the area in which they were mining was completed. The combined mine and highway project, in addition to providing much needed jobs, would have a total statewide economic impact of $484.7 million." CONSOL Energy said it appreciated the efforts of the state of West Virginia to issue all the required permits under their jurisdiction and remains optimistic that as the company continues to work with federal, state and local officials, it will be ultimately successful in securing the approvals necessary to enable jobs and economic development for the mine and highway project in Mingo County and the state. Court Reviews Essar's Requests A federal judge in eastern Kentucky in early December was reviewing a request by several subsidiaries of India's Essar Group to dismiss an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lawsuit accusing them of violating the Clean Water Act at mountaintop removal mines in the region in 2005 and 2007. Attorneys for Trinity Coal Partners, Frasure Creek Mining, Essar Minerals, Bear Fork Resources, Falcon Resources and Prater Branch Resources want the suit tossed out because, they contend, its allegations are too general in nature. The federal suit was filed last June. The EPA is accusing the companies of commencing surface mining at the 682-acre Bear Fork site in Pike County, Ky., in December 2005, constructing two hollow fills and two sediment ponds in streams at the site, without a CWA permit. December 2012 Continued from pg 10... Stockpiles Shrink at Chinese Ports Fall At the beginning of November, the stockpiles at China's four major Bohai ports (See Transport Tips, p. 28) currently stand at 14 million mt: Qinhuangdao, 5.3 million mt; Caofeidian Port, 3 million mt; Jingtang Port, 2.6 million mt; and Tianjin Port, 3.1 million mt. Fangcheng Port in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region reported 5 million mt. All told, ports have seen total stocks decline about 5% month-on-month. South African Exports Increase South Africa exported 5.56 million metric tons (mt) of coal from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in October up from 5.24 million mt the previous month, Reuters reported. RBCT said that Africa's largest economy a major exporter of coal to power stations in Europe and Asia had 4 million mt of coal stocks at the terminal at the end of October. Gladstone Coal Terminal Delayed by Costs According to Business Spectator, Australia's resources sector continues to be hit with cost overruns and project delays with the latest issue surfacing at the $2.5 billion first stage of the Wiggins Island Export Terminal, whose delivery will now be delayed until March 2015, seven months behind schedule. Infrastructure equipment in the Gladstone region has become hotly contested with the onset of major liquefied natural gas projects slated for completion. Czech Coal Makes Offer for Pocerady Power Plant Czech Coal has offered $831 million for CEZ's 1,000-mw Pocerady coal-fired power plant as it seeks to expand into electricity production. According to Bloomberg, the actual amount paid will depend on whether carbon credits are included in the sale. The deadline for CEZ's decision is the end of the year. Czech Coal, which is competing for the plant with utility Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding AS, also wants Pocerady because it's located next to its Vrsany coal mine in the northwest of the Czech Republic. CEZ and Czech Coal are in dispute over the price of coal the miner supplies to the utility. The long-term contracts for coal supply to Pocerady expire at the year end and CEZ claims the price Czech Coal is asking to renew the contract is too high. Cliffs Natural Resources Finalizes Sale of its Sonoma Mine Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced its wholly-owned subsidiary, Cliffs Australia Coal Pty Ltd., has finalized the sale of its 45% economic interest in the Sonoma coal mine located in Queensland, Australia, to its joint venture partners, QCoal Sonoma Pty Ltd. and JS Sonoma Pty Ltd (JSS). Cliffs divested its interests in the Sonoma mine along with its ownership of the affiliated wash plant. The company sold 90% of its interest to QCoal and the remaining 10% to JSS. Cliffs received approximately A$141 million in cash upon the closing of the transaction. Eastcoal Extends Coal Off Take Agreement with Metinvest Canada's Ukraine-focused coal miner EastCoal Inc. announced that the off take agreement with Ukrainian mining and steel producing group Metinvest Holding for the purchase of metallurgical coal from Eastcoal's Continued on pg 20... 11

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