The group under developer North Central Resources LLC (NCR) wants to ramp up shipments to global markets in 2023, with Japan, South Korea and India currently among the largest U.S. met coal export destinations.

The new 4-million-ton-per-year (tpy) Longview mine “will be contributing a stable supply of high-quality metallurgical coal to global customers, particularly in Japan and Asia,” Itochu said.

Sources close to the mine project expect the finished product to be a high-vol A coking coal with high CSR, and final specifications such as ash and sulfur dependent on future coal processing and marketing.

Combined with an expansion at the 3-million-tpy Leer South mine starting to add shipments in Q3 2021 and potential for growth from other mines, the U.S. will boost supplies of higher CSR, low ash high-vol coals, aiding blending options for steelmakers and coke plants.

Longview “will produce high-quality coking coal with world-class cost competitiveness,” Itochu said.

At the same time, the new mine potentially adds high-vol coking coal supplies into a competitive market.

The Longview mine is currently under development in Barbour County and planned to reach full-scale output at the end of 2022, to rank among the largest met coal mines in the U.S.

Itochu is providing development capital in line with its 25% equity stake in developer NCR, and the partners will develop a dedicated global marketing company, the Japanese company said.

AMCI holds a 42.38% stake in NCR, with Posco’s interest at 22.05% and investor JAZ at 10.58%, Itochu said.