“With the start-up of the longwall, the Leer mine is poised to become a world-class supplier of metallurgical coal and a cornerstone of Arch’s Appalachian operations for many years to come,” said John W. Eaves, Arch’s president and chief executive officer.

Arch has invested more than $400 million to develop the mine, which produces a high-quality, highly-volatile A coking coal product that is attracting significant interest in world metallurgical markets. With its 400-person workforce and highly efficient longwall system, according to company officials, the mine will benefit from a very competitive cost structure once it scales up to full production.

Arch now operates six metallurgical and PCI-grade mines in Appalachia, including four in West Virginia; Arch also has significant undeveloped metallurgical coal reserves in the region that can support additional mine development in the years ahead.