Bens Creek Group said its permit application has now been approved to operate a second highwall miner at its metallurgical coal mine in West Virginia.

Bens Creek Operations WV LCC applied for a permit to mine a much larger area than is currently being mined by the first highwall miner (HWM), which had been submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection in West Virginia (WVDEP). This permit has been granted with an effective date of September 21, 2022.

The granting of the permit by the WVDEP is for an initial five-year period and will now allow Bens Creek to deploy a second highwall miner that is to be operated by the company’s highwall mining contractor.

The company said this will enable it to steadily increase its production of metallurgical coal from current levels as it seeks to achieve its monthly production targets.

During August,, Bens Creek had said that it expected imminently to receive a permit to operate a second highwall miner at its site in West Virginia, noting that this will help production rise to 80,000 metric tons clean (160,000 mt raw) per month in the final quarter of 2022.

A further eight trains have been booked from September to December 2022, equivalent to 179,000 raw mt, to ship the additional coal.