Jim Barker, vice president of the Kittanning, Pennsylvania-based privately owned company, said it is Rosebud’s intent to restart most of the mines, 11 of which are in Indiana County, but a final decision would depend on market conditions including a decrease in utility customer and Rosebud coal inventories. NRG Energy’s 1,884-megawatt Homer City Generating Station in Indiana County is among Rosebud’s largest customers.

The idlings affected 429 employees, about half of the company’s approximately 850-person workforce. Rosebud’s three underground mines in eastern Ohio have continued to operate.

Rosebud has been a reliable regional coal producer for years, since its founding in East Brady, Pennsylvania, in 1979. The company normally produces about 7 million tons of coal annually, virtually all from underground, continuous miner operations.

Rosebud has not indicated when it will move forward with development of its newest coal mine, Ginger Bend in Belmont and Guernsey counties in Ohio. The underground mine received a final permit in December from the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management (ODMRM). It is expected to produce at least 1 million tons a year, making it one of the company’s largest mines, according to an ODMRM official.

In late December, Alpha Natural Resources said it completed the sale of its Amfire Mining Co. subsidiary to Rosebud for approximately $80 million, including $75 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. Amfire Mining has 10 mines and four prep plants and loadouts in Pennsylvania’s Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Greene, Indiana and Somerset counties.

Rosebud has made similar acquisitions during the past decade. In 2010, it purchased the assets of Buckeye Industrial Mining of Lisbon, Ohio, a transaction that expanded Rosebud’s reserve holdings into Columbiana, Stark and Jefferson counties in Ohio.

In late 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued an air permit to TJS Mining, acquired by Rosebud on December 31, 2010, for its 420,000-ton-per-year TJS No. 6 prep plant in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

In January 2011, Rosebud bought Action Mining and its related companies in Somerset County. Action consisted of seven surface mines in the county and a tipple on the CSX Railroad near Meyersdale.