In issuing its closure order, MSHA required a comprehensive structural inspection of all surface facilities by an independent bridge engineering firm before the surface facilities could be reopened.
On September 18, 2012, the independent engineers issued their initial report. Since receiving the report, mine personnel have been analyzing the findings and working to determine the expense and capital investment necessary to meet MSHA’s requirements to lift the closure order of the surface facilities at Pontiki.
“ARLP will make every reasonable effort to keep the mine open,” said Joe Craft, president and CEO. “We are working diligently with all parties with a vested interest in Pontiki’s future and expect to complete our evaluations within the next two weeks.”
Alliance is evaluating the potential impact of the Pontiki idling, including a possible one-time, non-cash charge to reflect an impairment of part or all of the approximately $34 million of assets related to the mining complex. As part of this evaluation, the company is developing contingency plans to indefinitely suspend operations at the mine and deploy equipment currently in use at Pontiki to other Alliance operations.
The Pontiki mining complex is owned by Pontiki Coal, LLC and operated by Excel Mining, LLC, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Alliance. Prior to the suspension of operations, the Pontiki mining complex employed approximately 197 workers and generated 2012 year-to-date coal sales and production volumes of approximately 517,000 tons and 558,000 tons, respectively.