Vail, located in Harrison County, is Rosebud’s western-most mine to date. The mine will produce an estimated 750,000 tons of high-sulfur steam coal annually from the Upper Freeport No. 7 seam and is targeted for a 25-year life. Electric utilities equipped with scrubbers to reduce sulfur-dioxide emissions are expected to be Vail’s principal customers.

Over the past year or so, Vail’s startup was rumored to be imminent several times. The company, which likes to keep a low profile, has not said why it has been delayed. The Mine Safety and Health Administration still listed Vail as a “non-producing” mine on October 3.

Since its founding in 1979 and the leadership of its president, Cliff Forrest, Rosebud has grown from a one-mine operation to a company that owns nearly two-dozen surface and underground mines in Northern Appalachia. In the past several years, Rosebud has opened a number of new mines, including Harmony, Long Run, Penfield, Starford and Mine 78. Vail will be the latest entry in the company’s coal industry sweepstakes, but probably not its last.