On January 4, Signal Peak Energy, which operates the former Bull Mountain mine near Roundup in Musselshell County, lifted a month-long force majeure declared after the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) shut the mine in early December because of higher-than-allowed CO concentrations in a mined-out section of the mine. Company spokesman Mike Dawson confirmed the force majeure no longer was in effect and the mine was back in full production.

Despite last year’s interruptions, Signal Peak made progress in continuing to ramp up production of subbituminous coal. According to MSHA, the mine turned out 5.13 million tons of coal in 2011, up from 4.38 million tons in 2010. Eventually, Signal Peak’s annual output is expected to reach 12.5 million tons.