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Coal Production From Top Northern Appalachia Mines Drops 25% in FY'20

Production at the top coal mines in the Northern Appalachian basin of the U.S. during the last quarter of 2020 fell short of the full-year 2019 totals but increased quarter over quarter, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The top 25 mines in Northern Appalachia produced 19.2 million tons of coal during the fourth quarter of 2020, dropping 14.7% from 22.5 million tons in the prior-year period. Production rates improved from the 17.7 million tons of output from the top mines in the preceding quarter, but large production cuts at certain operations bit into the quarterly total.

For the full year, the top 25 mines in the region churned out 69.8 million tons of coal, decreasing more than 25% from 93.6 million tons produced in 2019. Total production from the region was the lowest on record dating back to 1984, according to S&P Global Platts.

The largest producer in the region was the Bailey mine, operated by Consol Energy Inc., which yielded 3 million tons of coal in the fourth quarter of 2020, declining 6.5% year over year. Consol President and CEO Jimmy Brock said on a Feb. 9 earnings call that the decrease was related to the coronavirus pandemic and difficulties within the rail supply chain.

The company expects lower output from its mines in the Northern Appalachian region in 2021 with "only a modest production recovery," Brock said. "Accordingly, we do not expect Northern [Appalachian] production to rebound to pre-COVID levels for the foreseeable future as operators in the region better align output with demand trends."

Two of the top mines with the biggest dips in quarterly output were the Century and Monongalia County mines, overseen by American Consolidated Natural Resources Inc. Century produced 422,000 tons of coal and Monongalia County produced 160,000 tons during the recent three-month period, dropping year over year from 1.1 million tons and 1.2 million tons, respectively.

American Consolidated Natural Resources, formerly known as Murray Energy Corp., also oversees the Marshall County mine, which was the second-highest performer in the basin in the fourth quarter of 2020. Marshall County produced 2.2 million tons of coal during the period, decreasing 23.8% year over year and 18.5% quarter over quarter.

Third in the quarterly rankings was the Tunnel Ridge mine run by Alliance Resource Partners LP. One of the few mines in the basin to improve on previous totals, Tunnel Ridge produced 1.9 million tons of coal in the last quarter of 2020, 6% higher than the prior-year period. Production at the operation decreased 24.4% in 2020, in line with regional trends.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.

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When the Windmills Freeze in Texas, Coal Keeps the Lights On

In Texas, the wind turbines are frozen. Natural gas supplies are low. And multiple power plants are off-line due to recent snow and ice storms.

Around 25 percent of homes in Texas did not have power as the Polar Vortex slammed into the Lone Star State earlier this week, and that threatened to soar even higher. The only reason Texas wasn’t completely dark?

Coal.

On Monday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the governing body that oversees the main power grid in Texas, told utility companies to start California-style rolling outages as demand has far outstripped capacity.

ERCOT is its own grid. It is separate from the rest of the national grid in the country. ERCOT is powered by natural gas (35 percent), and in second place – believe it or not – is wind (25 percent). Coal is close behind at 22 percent. Solar is less than 5 percent.

The good news for Texas is a sliver (around 10 percent) of it is also powered by The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). It oversees power transmission in 15 states. At least 50 percent of its electricity comes from coal. Some seven percent come from wind turbines. Solar is basically non-existent in the MISO zone.

A lot of politicians and activists hate coal. But as a current baseload, if we shut it down, a lot more people would be freezing for much longer than just an hour a day in Texas.

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VCEDA Board Honors Retiring Member

Outgoing Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) board member Harry Childress was recognized for his service to the VCEDA board and Southwest Virginia at the Feb. 18 meeting of the board.

Childress, whose most recent service on the VCEDA board spanned from 2016-2020 as a representative of the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance, was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation, recognizing him for “his outstanding service and genuine concern for the people of Southwest Virginia and the Coalfield Region.”


Harry Childress

In addition to his most recent service on the board, Childress also served from 2008 to 2011 as the representative on the VCEDA board for one of the top three coal producers in the region at that time. He was president of the coal and energy alliance from 2014 to 2020 and in 2021 became president of the new Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (MCPA). He is retiring next month from the coal association post. Barbara Altizer, MCPA executive director of education and outreach, succeeds Childress on the VCEDA board.

During his career, Childress served as chief of the Virginia Division of Mines for 12 years where he managed and directed mine safety programs for the Commonwealth of Virginia and was involved in interpreting laws, regulations, policies and procedures. In addition to his service on the VCEDA board, he has also served the people of Southwest Virginia on the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission, the Virginia Coal Mine Safety Board, the Virginia Board of Coal Mining Examiners and the Coalfield Water Development Fund Board. He has also served on several National Mining Association committees; on various committees for the MCPA and the VCEA; and on the Lonesome Pine Chapter of Holmes Safety Association.

Following the presentation to Childress, the board approved a variety of other project requests and actions.

A resolution supporting the completion of the Coalfields Expressway, similar to a resolution adopted in December by the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority, for which VCEDA provides staff support, was adopted by the board. Since the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority’s adoption of the resolution in December, a number of coalfield counties and organizations have adopted similar resolutions expressing the importance of the completion of the Coalfields Expressway.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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Coal Output Declined 14.3% at Top 25 Central Appalachian Mines in 2020

Coal production at the top 25 mines in the Central Appalachian basin of the U.S. held steady during the fourth quarter of 2020 while output slumped for the full year, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The top 25 active mines in the region produced 6.28 million tons of coal during the last three months of 2020, an 8% increase from 5.8 million tons in the preceding quarter and nearly equal to the 6.27 million tons of coal mined in the prior-year period. The basin yielded 24 million tons of coal over all of 2020, a 14.3% drop from 28.1 million tons of coal mined during 2019.

The already beleaguered U.S. coal industry has been hit hard by the global coronavirus pandemic. Shattered power and construction demand expectations and infections at mine sites rattled coal companies throughout the year and left some executives scrambling to reposition their companies for an uncertain future beyond the pandemic.

For Arch Resources Inc., the COVID-19 crisis has fueled a faster transition away from the business of thermal coal. Two of the top producing mines in the Central Appalachian basin during the fourth quarter of 2020 were Arch-run assets, and both recorded production decreases quarter over quarter and year over year. The company has said it expects similar coal shipment volumes in the first quarter of 2021 on a quarterly basis.

"We're continuing to see the impact of COVID here. And we think over time we'll continue to manage the COVID effectively. We're encouraged with the vaccine rollout," Arch Senior Vice President and COO John Drexler said during a Feb. 9 earnings call.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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New Company, Phillips Global, is Formed from the Acquisition of Phillips Machine of Beckley, WV by The Baughan Group

The Baughan Group has announced that it has completed the purchase of the assets of Phillips Machine of Beckley, WV.  The Baughan Group's mining companies, Gauley-Robertson, CAI Industries and RiJa, Inc. along with this new acquisition are being consolidated into ONE company called Phillips Global. 

Phillips Global will service customers domestically and internationally with a broad range of products, goods and services.  Phillips Global world headquarters is now located in Beckley, West Virginia at the former Phillips Machine location.


“This acquisition brings together the best talented people and proven mining equipment of each company,” said Chuck Lilly, Executive Vice President, The Baughan Group and Phillips Global, Inc. “In these challenging times, we have united so we can all pull together and better serve the coal industry by helping to improve its safety and productivity and thus contribute to its survival. Together, we look forward to an exciting future.”

Starting on February 1, Gauley-Robertson, CAI Industries and RiJa, Inc. began to operate under the new Phillips Global, Inc. name.  Until the physical consolidation to the Beckley, WV campus is complete, the same phone numbers, fax numbers and emails are in use as in the past.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.

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