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Arch Coal commences development work on a new coking coal mine in Northern West Virginia

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

Arch Coal, Inc. has announced that it has commenced development of a new, longwall mine in Barbour County, West Virginia, that will produce an estimated three million t of premium, High-Vol A coking coal annually for sale into the global marketplace.

The new mine, Leer South, will be similar in virtually every respect to Arch's existing Leer longwall mine, and will operate in the same 200-million-ton reserve base as the Leer operation.

"We are excited about this new project, which we view as transformational for Arch Coal and its shareholders," said John W. Eaves, Arch's chief executive officer.  "With the addition of Leer South, Arch will greatly enhance its portfolio of world-class coking coal assets, and cement our position as the premier global producer of High-Vol A coking coal.  We believe there is significant, unfulfilled global demand for High-Vol A coking coal generally, and our Leer brand specifically, and are already engaged in discussions with leading steel producers around the world that are eager to secure additional volumes of our Leer-brand products."

In addition to its plans for Leer South, Arch announced that it would be transitioning its Mountain Laurel operation from longwall to room-and-pillar mining at the beginning of 2020, and moving the Mountain Laurel longwall equipment to Leer South at that time.

"We view this transition as beneficial in multiple ways," said Paul A. Lang, Arch's president and chief operating officer.  "First, Mountain Laurel's still-extensive reserve base is increasingly well-suited to room-and-pillar mining, which is expected to deliver greater operational flexibility, higher product quality and a modestly lower cost structure.  Second, the redeployment of the longwall equipment to Leer South will lower the capital requirements for the new project by around US$35 million and further enhance our expected return on investment.  Third, we see great value in expanding further our high-margin High-Vol A production while maintaining a value-creating position in High-Vol B markets via a reconfigured Mountain Laurel operation."

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