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Coal shipped from Peabody’s School Creek mine

World Coal,

Peabody Energy has produced and sold coal from its School Creek mine in Wyoming. The company has begun to ratchet back output from mines yielding lower-quality coals.

Since July, Peabody has sold over 850,000 short t from School Creek, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Fuel receipts show that Peabody shipped over 850,000 short t of coal from School Creek to Indiana Michigan Power in Illinois, Nebraska Public Power District, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma and Southwestern Electric Power in Texas.

The School Creek mine lies close to Peabody’s flagship 8800 Btu/lb North Antelope Rochelle mine in the Powder River Basin (PRB). The mine has an average sulfur content of between 0.22 – 0.29% and an average ash content of 4.36 – 4.76%, according to the EIA.

In 2006, Peabody declared that it would delay development of the School Creek mine, which is expected to produce between 30 and 40 million tpa. The company said it would wait until market conditions justified the development of the mine. However, in 2011, the company announced it had opened a pit at the mine as a means of optimising shipping of its higher-quality North Antelope Rochelle coal, accessing additional rail, loadout, reserves and surface facilities associated with School Creek. Peabody, however, denied opening the mine on a full scale.

A number of mining companies operating in the PRB are cutting output of lower-heat coal and instead attempting to consolidate production at higher-quality areas, as a means of coping with currently subdued coal prices.

In 2013, Peabody reduced output at its 8500 Btu/lb Caballo mine by 47% to nearly 9 million short t – a far cry from the 33 million short t produced at Caballo in 2006.

School Creek’s production is higher in heat content that output from Caballo. The company remained unavailable for comment when asked as to why it had begun mining at School Creek, when it had previously stated its intent not to develop the mine. 

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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