Blaschak is one of the top anthracite producers in the U.S. and the company recently executed a long-term lease to mine a significant reserve in the Mount Carmel area of Columbia County, Pennsylvania. A Marion 7450 dragline will be moved to this location and the company plans to acquire a supporting fleet of equipment to move into full operation by the end of 2015.

The second location is in the Eastern coal measures near Hazleton. Blaschak is currently mining in this location with a Manitowoc 4600 dragline. First coal was produced in August.

The additional capacity will permit the company flexibility in operations, giving Blaschak five active mining locations containing high-quality reserves. The reserve additions are expected to add as much as 3 million tons of clean coal.

The expansion coincides with release of a study suggesting that the carbon footprint of anthracite is smaller than that of traditional metallurgical coke. “The expanded mining operations reflect our strategic belief in the value of anthracite in existing and emerging market applications,” said Greg Driscoll, president and CEO of Blaschak Coal Corp. “We’re excited to increase our mining capacity, extending the environmental benefits afforded by our re-mining and reclamation, and providing confirmation of our belief that Pennsylvania anthracite has favorable environmental impacts when used in place of alternatives in domestic steelmaking.”

The study, prepared by Dr. Harold Schobert of Schobert International LLC, compared the carbon footprints of using traditional metallurgical coke relative to using Pennsylvania-produced anthracite as a fuel and reducing agent in U. S. domestic steelmaking operations.

The study confirmed that the use of Pennsylvania anthracite over metallurgical coke significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions, thereby minimizing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. In fact, replacing coke with anthracite in a single electric arc furnace can reduce carbon dioxide by as much as 95,000 tons — the equivalent carbon footprint of 2,000 households, or 11,000 motor vehicles.