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Latest News - March 2018


Warrior Met Coal Prepares for 2018

Warrior Met Coal, the leading U.S. exporter for high-quality metallurgical coal, confirmed it has completed three planned longwall moves. It plans to ramp up production in Alabama to meet a tight market for the high-quality premium met coal market. Prices for seaborne met coal are expected to climb higher in the first quarter of 2018, reflecting resilience in global steel production, as well as the effects of met coal supply disruptions in Australia and supply side reforms in China.
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 MEC Will Operate 3 Former Armstrong Mines

Murray Energy Corp., which wrapped up the purchase of bankrupt Armstrong Energy Inc. in late February, plans to continue operating at least three former Armstrong Coal mines in western Kentucky that collectively produced nearly 4.5 million tons of steam coal in 2017.
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 Corsa Sells Thermal Coal Assets

Corsa Coal Corp. has decided to sell its Central Appalachia (CAPP) thermal and industrial coal division to Industrial Minerals Group, a buyer group led by that division’s current management team. The CAPP division’s operations include one underground mine, Cooper Ridge, and two surface operations, the Valley Creek and Buffalo Creek mines.
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 Contura Expects to Ship 15-17M Tons of Coal in 2018 

Contura Energy Inc., a leading U.S. coal supplier, announced production, cost and sales guidance for full-year 2018. The company expects total 2018 coal shipments to be in the range of 15 million to 16.8 million tons across all operations, including 3.7 million to 4.1 million tons of captive Central Appalachia (CAPP) metallurgical coal and 4.2 million to 5 million tons of metallurgical coal through its Trading and Logistics segment. Northern Appalachia (NAPP) shipments, sold primarily into thermal markets, are anticipated to be between 7.1 million and 7.7 million tons.
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 Alliance to Mine, Sell More Coal in 2018

Fresh off a year in 2017 when coal production and sales both increased, Alliance Resource Partners is reopening its long-idled Gibson North steam coal underground mine in Indiana amid higher sales and production estimates this year fueled in part by continued growth in the export sector.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based coal producer saw the start of coal market improvements late last year expects them to persist through 2018, Joe Craft, the company’s president and CEO.
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 FirstEnergy to Sell or Close Pleasants Coal Plant in West Virginia

FirstEnergy Corp., responding to unfavorable regulatory rulings, said in late February it will sell or close its 1,300-megawatt Pleasants coal-burning power plant along the Ohio River in Willow Island, West Virginia, by January 1, 2019.
Transferring ownership of the nearly 40-year-old power plant from its unregulated Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiary to its regulated Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison affiliates was part of FirstEnergy’s strategy to exit the merchant generation business later this year.
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 Michigan Group Wants DTE Energy to Reconsider Retiring Coal Plants

A major Michigan business group is pushing back against plans by the state’s largest electric utility, DTE Energy, to retire three of its largest coal-burning generating stations by December 2023, largely replacing them with a new 1,100-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired plant. DTE, which serves 2.2 million customers in the southeastern part of the state, is seeking Certificates of Necessity from the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) to build the combined-cycle gas plant northeast of Detroit. The gas plant would be in commercial operation by 2022.
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 Indiana Legislation May Resolve Local Dispute Over Liberty Mine Expansion

A planned expansion at an Indiana surface mine that is drawing fire from some residents could be a catalyst for a change in state law that prevents local governments from passing ordinances restricting landowners from mining.
In late February, the Republican-controlled Senate Committee on Natural Resources in the Indiana General Assembly was reviewing House Bill 1289, which won overwhelming approval in the state House of Representatives earlier this year. The GOP also holds a majority in the House and Gov. Eric Holcomb is a Republican.
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 Future of Foresight Energy’s Deer Run Longwall Mine Remains Unclear

Foresight Energy’s Deer Run longwall steam coal mine near Hillsboro in Montgomery County, Illinois, soon will have been idle for three years, and it is unclear if and when the mine will resume production. But the St. Louis-based company, now owned by Ohio’s Murray Energy Corp., has received approval from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to perform any work at Deer Run that does not result in actual mining.
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 Battelle Leads Team to Milestone in Carbon Capture Demo Project

Ten years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) set a big goal. It wanted a scientific demonstration of injecting a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the rock deep below the earth’s surface. Now, a Battelle-led team known as Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) has successfully stored 1 million metric tons of CO2 as part of its large-scale demonstration project. This MRCSP demonstration is one of eight such DOE projects helping to develop and deploy carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), an advanced energy technology that can help support a secure, reliable and competitive energy system in the U.S.
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 Judge Dismisses MEC Defamation Lawsuit Against HBO

On February 21, Federal Court Judge Jeffrey Cramer threw out a defamation case filed by Murray Energy Corp. (MEC) against Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” host John Oliver that stemmed from a broadcast that criticized the coal industry and MEC and its CEO Robert Murray specifically.
In his ruling, Judge Cramer said he agreed with arguments made by the defendants that the plaintiff failed to state a claim. He said their arguments were “well-founded” and “appropriate.”
“The court adopts, with little exception, defendants’ arguments in support of their motion regarding all issues addressed in the same,” Cramer said.
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DOI Gives Out $300 Million to Reclaim Abandoned Coal Mines

On February 24, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) announced the availability of $300.7 million in Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation grants to 28 coal-producing states and tribes to reclaim abandoned coal mines.
“Restoring the usability of abandoned mine lands is an example of the Department of the Interior’s multiple-use mission of conservation in action,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Interior will continue helping states and tribes responsibly develop America’s energy resources and address legacy problems related to 200 years of mining.”
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