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Deer Run Could Restart Production Before Year End

Foresight Energy is in the process of reopening its long-idled Deer Run longwall mine in southern Illinois and the steam coal operation could resume production before the end of 2017. A spokesman for the St. Louis-based company acknowledged in June that Foresight is taking the steps necessary to begin mining coal at Deer Run again. The mine, also known as Hillsboro, is located near the community of Hillsboro in Montgomery County, Illinois.

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Beech Creek Coal Mine Resumes Production

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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ILB Producers Expanding, Opening New Facilities

Some of the largest steam coal producers in the high-sulfur Illinois Basin (ILB) are seeking to extend existing mines or open new operations as Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky attempt to claw back production lost over the last few years.

ILB output in mid-June was up 17% year-over-year despite several major mines in the region remaining idle. Among them was Foresight Energy’s Deer Run longwall mine near Hillsboro, Illinois. It largely has been inactive since March 26, 2015, when elevated levels of carbon monoxide were detected. Those readings have since dropped and the St. Louis-based company is in the process of reopening the mine.

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DOE to Fund Large-scale Pilot Fossil Fuel Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $50 million funding opportunity through the Office of Fossil Energy to design, construct, and operate two large-scale pilot projects for transformational coal technologies that improve coal-powered systems’ performance, efficiency, emission reduction, and cost of electricity. Applicants should have already demonstrated technical success at a small-scale pilot stage, and a 20% minimum cost share on total award values is required.

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Study on Health Risks of Living Near Mining Sites in Central Appalachia Stops

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine announced it was told to cease all work on a study of the potential health risks for people living near surface coal mine sites in Central Appalachia. In an August 18 letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the department said it has begun an agency-wide review of its grants and cooperative agreements in excess of $100,000, largely as a result of the department’s changing budget situation.

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