The new mine is the first among several that are planned to be combined in a new mining group on the Rowland reserve. Massey estimates the new resource group will eventually produce as much as 2 million tons of metallurgical coal annually and employ more than 500 miners.

“We have the required permits in hand for the development of the slope and shaft into the main deep mine in the Beckley seam and we are now moving forward as quickly as possible,” said Massey Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship. “The development of this property further enhances our position as Central Appalachia’s largest coal producer and one of the largest met coal producers in the country.”

Massey acquired most of the Rowland reserve in 1998 and added to it with several small acquisitions in 2008. Initial development of the property and construction of the mine is expected to be completed in time for the 2011 export season.

Capital expenditures for the development of the mine in the Beckley seam and associated processing plant and facilities are expected to be in the range of $100 to $160 million. Approximately $20 to $30 million of these expenditures are planned to occur in 2010, with the remainder in 2011 and 2012.

“We are increasingly optimistic about the strength of the metallurgical coal markets around the world,” Blankenship said. “We believe the current and forecasted shortage of metallurgical coal makes this the right time to proceed with the development of this high quality coal reserve.”