Columbus, Ohio-based Oxford has been refocusing on its native Northern Appalachian region in Ohio after Big Rivers Electric Corp., a Henderson, Kentucky-based generation and transmission co-op, terminated an 800,000-tons-per-year high-sulfur steam coal contract with Oxford in early 2012. Oxford responded by filing a breach of contract suit against Big Rivers in Ohio County Circuit Court in Hartford, Kentucky. The litigation is still pending.
While Oxford awaits a legal resolution, the company has been selling mining equipment once used at its surface mines in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Its final western Kentucky surface mine to close, Halls Creek, produced its last coal in late 2013.
Oxford said it received $2 million from the sale of the coal terminal and related equipment. The transaction closed on April 11. The company refused to identify the purchaser, citing a confidentiality agreement between the two parties.
In the transaction, Oxford retained assignable rights to coal loading throughput at the terminal for a period of seven years following the sale closing. That means Oxford could send coal through the terminal if it decided to resume mining in western Kentucky or it could assign that right to another coal producer.
Last year, Oxford said it was thinking of selling 19.3 million tons of high-sulfur coal reserves in Muhlenberg County, which adjoins McLean County. That coal represents about a third of Oxford’s total reserves. The company has not announced any reserve sale, however.
Oxford also said it has a fully committed sales position for 2014, while it pursues liquidity-enhancing sales of non-performing assets. The company expects to produce in a range of 5.5 million to 5.9 million tons and sell 5.6 million to 6 million tons this year.
Meanwhile, Oxford continues to develop new surface mining operations in Ohio. The company recently submitted an application to the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management for a permit for the Wheeling Valley AAA mine in Harrison County. The original Wheeling Valley mine went into operation in 2008.
Wheeling Valley AAA, a loader/truck, bulldozer and auger operation, would produce about 20,000 tons a month of steam coal from the No. 9 seam. The coal would be sold to scrubbed power plants in the U.S. Production is targeted to commence in 2015.
During the past two years, Oxford has been issued more than a dozen new mining permits by the Ohio agency.