Despite a “tragic fatality,” said CEO and President J. Brett Harvey, “CONSOL’s mines and gas operations ran well during the quarter; substantial improvements in safety have been realized and new records have been set.”

Most of the production shortfall was driven by inventory control, according to company officials. Several mines went idle this year, they added, as CONSOL sought to align production and sales. In November, a bulldozer operator drowned after the dozer slid into a coal slurry pond.

At the Buchanan mine, the first of two phases of the $24 million Horn Mountain portal project has been completed; the second involves converting a vent shaft to a hoist. Both will lower production costs, say company representatives.

CONSOL Energy now expects to produce 55.5 million-57.5 million tons in 2013.