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Arch Coal begins operating longwall mining system at Leer coal mine

World Coal,

Arch Coal has announced that its Tygart Valley Leer mine in northern West Virginia has begun operating its longwall mining system. The company said this progress marked a major milestone in the development of the overall mining complex, as the mine will provide high-quality metallurgical coal to steelmakers around the world.

The Leer mine is now expected to ramp up production during Q1 of 2014, and to produce more than 3 million tpa thereafter.

“With the start-up of the longwall, the Leer mine is poised to become a world-class supplier of metallurgical coal and a cornerstone of Arch’s Appalachian operations for many years to come,” John Eaves, president and CEO of Arch Coal said. “We applaud the great work of the Leer team in completing this significant step, and we look forward to a safe, productive and profitable future for this important new mine.”

The Leer mine has been supported with more than US$ 400 million in investment from Arch Coal. The mine produces a high-quality, high-volatile ‘A’ metallurgical coal product that the company said is already attracting significant interest in world metallurgical markets.

The company praised its “talented” 400 strong workforce and efficient longwall system, and said the mine would benefit from a competitive cost structure once it scales up to full production.

“Our investment in the Leer mine underscored our commitment to West Virginia and our focus on producing the highest quality metallurgical coal to meet the needs of global steelmakers,” Eaves said. “With the addition of Leer, we are advancing our long-term, strategic objective of increasing our penetration into domestic and seaborne coking coal markets.”

West Virginia Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, congratulated Arch on the completion of the longwall installation. “Coal continues to be an important foundation for the economic growth of our state and the nation’s primary source of energy,” said Tomblin. “Arch Coal’s investment in [West Virginia] not only strengthens our coal industry, it helps create good paying jobs for hardworking West Virginians.”

There are currently six metallurgical and PCI-grade mines in Appalachia operated by Arch Coal, with four of these in West Virginia. The company also has significant undeveloped metallurgical coal reserves in the region that can support additional mine development in the years ahead.

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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