Southern Coal Corp.’s Beech Creek Coal subsidiary is reopening a surface mine near Phelps in Pike County, Kentucky, to produce metallurgical coal, another sign that a nascent recovery may be coming to the Central Appalachian coalfield.

According to Dustin Deane, associate counsel for the James C. Justice Cos. of Roanoke, Virginia, the mine was expected to resume producing coal around July 15. It had been idled for about a year because of the soft coal market.

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