CA-Black-Transp

The New Norm

Throughout the news section of this edition of Coal Age, readers will note a couple of positive stories among a volley of sad announcements that shook the coal business in early June. Four U.S. coal operators (Murray Energy, Peabody Energy, Alpha Natural Resources and Rhino Energy) announced that nearly 2,700 jobs would be eliminated. These choices are never easily made. With lives that range from 10 to 20 years, the decision to idle or close an operation is almost as difficult as justifying the investment to open a mine.

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Politician Cuts Funding for Miners Used as Props

Former Hillary Clinton campaign manager and current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was espousing her virtues on the Sunday, April 19th episode of “Meet the Press.” He and anchor Chuck Todd were discussing the launch of Hillary’s campaign. As the two bantered about political campaigns, McAuliffe reminisced about his own. “You get to travel and meet folks,” McAuliffe said. “I spent an hour in a coal mine, talking to coal miners. Your policies evolve, because you're talking to folks whose lives are impacted every single day. They have the answers. They are living in financial distress...” The fact that he had spent time at a coal mine struck a chord.

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EPA Faces Scrutiny

One of the clichés often heard in this business is that the only constant is change. As this edition of Coal Age goes to press, the coal industry sees one major producer acquiring another. U.S. coal operators continue to confront over reaching regulations and environmental activism. At the same time, they have to keep costs low to remain competitive.

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Knowledge and Insight Afford an Advantage

In this edition of Coal Age, readers will immediately identify a recurring theme of coal operators finding value where others do not. These examples include the Cline Group acquiring the Cape Breton assets in Nova Scotia; the Justice family buying Bluestone back; Revelation acquiring the remaining James River assets; and others. What do these groups see that others do not? More than financial means, they have the business acumen that prompts them to move into an area when others want out. They also have an edge — it’s experience and a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond the coal face.

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Transitions Underground

Coal Age does finally have a little good news to report this month. Longtime readers know that included in the February edition of Coal Age is the U.S. Longwall Census. It lists all of the U.S. longwall installations and provides production statistics. Longwall mining is the safest, most productive form of underground mining.

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