The numbers, according to CEO Joe Craft, were driven by a major longwall move at the Tunnel Ridge operation and early production at the new Gibson South mine. “Collectively, our operations were able to operate efficiently despite severe winter weather,” he added.
Weather-related transportation disruptions in the Illinois Basin and cessation of operations at Pontiki in Q4 2013, however, resulted in lower Q1 2014 sales, despite higher sales volumes from the longwall operation at Tunnel Ridge, added company officials.
Increased Tunnel Ridge production and strong performance at the Dotiki and MC Mining mines, on the other hand, accentuated record production of 10.3 million tons (mt) in Q1 2014 — a 4.4% increase over Q4 2013.
As total production increased during the Q1 2014, total operating expenses fell 7.6% compared from Q4 2013. The decrease reflects favorable Q1 production, owing to improved longwall production and recoveries at Tunnel Ridge and the absence of high costs at Pontiki.
The company is now expecting 2014 full-year Tunnel Ridge production at 6 million tons with 700,000 tons at the Gibson South mine. In all, Alliance is forecasting 2014 production of 41 million tons.