Peabody Energy’s New Bear Run Mega-mine Ramping Up Production

Peabody Energy’s new Bear Run surface mine in southern Indiana was ramping up production in September after a 13-million-lb dragline was successfully “walked” 18 miles from another location and began stripping away tons of overburden.

“The dragline is just now in its first full month of expanded distribution with the larger equipment,” said Megan Gallagher, company spokesperson. It took a couple of weeks to move the massive Bucyrus-Erie 2570-W dragline, at a snail’s pace, to Bear Run, just south of Dugger in Sullivan County, from Peabody’s Farmersburg surface mine.

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MSHA Reminds Miners About Rights to Make Hazardous Condition Complaints, Protections Against Discrimination

The Mine Safety and Health Administration released of two new program information bulletins pertaining to the rights of miners who make hazardous condition complaints and request inspections, as well as miners’ protections against discrimination.

MSHA decided to distribute these guidelines based on testimony delivered in May during a House Education and Labor Committee hearing in Beckley, W.Va., as well as testimony delivered during recent Senate hearings. Statements from family members of miners who died in the April 5, 2010, explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine indicated workers who had expressed concerns over safety conditions existing prior to the deadly blast feared retaliation by mine management.

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Peabody Energy Announces Expansion of Gateway Mine in Illinois

Peabody Energy has approved the expansion of the Gateway mine in Southern Illinois, which will extend the life of the operation by at least 16 years. Gateway has an additional 280 million tons of reserves available for expansion in favorable market conditions. The project will advance underground operations north of the existing site and will increase annual capacity by 40% to 4.5 million tons within several years. Capital investments for the expansion are expected to total approximately $175 million.

“We are expanding Gateway to serve one of the fastest-growing markets in the United States,” said Gregory H. Boyce, chairman and CEO, Peabody Energy. “Gateway has earned a reputation as one of the safest and most productive operations in the Midwest. This expansion demonstrates the strength of our leading reserve base to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities in high-demand, low-cost regions.”

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Rhino Resource Partners Completes IPO

Lexington, Ky.-based Rhino Resource Partners LP has completed its initial public offering (IPO) of 3,730,600 common units at $20.50/unit. The number of common units issued at closing included 486,600 additional common units issued pursuant to the full exercise of the underwriters’ over-allotment option.

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Oxford Resource Partners Goes Public

Life as a publicly-owned company has been good in the early going for Oxford Resource Partners, an Ohio and Kentucky surface miner. Ohio-based Oxford raised almost $162 million from a summer initial public offering after pricing 8.75 million shares at $18.50 each after offering them for $18 to $20. Originally, Oxford planned to price the shares at $19 to $21 apiece. In mid-September, Oxford shares were trading for $18.99 each on the New York Stock Exchange.

Oxford told the UBS Master Limited Partnership Conference in Houston in early September its high-sulfur coal mines are well-positioned to take advantage of a rapidly growing scrubber market in the U.S. Focused on surface mining, Oxford touted its status as a low-cost producer with no mountaintop removal mines in Appalachia and a non-union, approximately 800-employee workforce.

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