Stockton, the company’s first open-pit operation in the U.S., produced 48,810 tons in the second quarter (Q2), up 37% from 35,757 tons in the first quarter of this year. Sales climbed to 39,289 tons in the April-June period, an 8% increase over 36,449 tons in the first quarter.

Steve Best, Atlantic’s managing director, said Q2 volumes “were not only up on the previous quarter but more importantly were significantly up on Q2 2013.” While production and sales were adversely affected by the worst winter in Pennsylvania in 20 years from January-March, “we bounced back in Q2 with a 37% increase in coal production and an 8% increase in sales.” Typically, as Stockton moves from spring to summer its sales generally fall off, “but in Q2 we increased sales by 65% compared with Q2 2013, and production by 59% compared with Q2 2013,” Best said. “This reflects a distinct strengthening in the market and our ability to meet this with increased production.”

Best said Atlantic’s production strategy is based on keeping the prep plant at Stockton fully utilized. And, “in order to maintain the [run-of-mine] feed stockpile to meet the clean coal production target and demand for our product,” a second production shift was started at Stockton during the second quarter.

Also, as a result of improvements to the prep plant, “we have improved the annual wash recovery rate from 39.3% at the end of Q1 to 46% at the end of Q2,” he said. “This all puts Atlantic Coal well on course to meet production targets for 2014.” Most of Stockton’s coal is used for industrial and steelmaking purposes.

Stockton produced 151,265 tons in 2013 and is expected to exceed that amount in 2014.