“This acquisition marks a major milestone for us, as it gives us a diverse energy product portfolio including natural gas, propane, oil and coal,” said Universal’s President Vince M. Guest. “Whitesburg has obtained all of the state permits and completed all of the required land reclamation. This puts our coal production and sales about one month ahead of schedule. The drilling and blasting in preparation for removal of coal is ongoing, and blasting for cutting of new roadwork for trucks to access other areas of the mine.”

Universal will be purchasing the coal from Whitesburg and sell it directly to the coal producers and electric power utility customers. Sales forecasts are estimated at $52.8 million with an estimated $5 million to $8 million in earnings annually.

Whitesburg currently has more than 3 million tons of recoverable coal under contract in the Elkhorn No. 3 Seam in Letcher County, Ky. The estimated production and extraction costs are $38/ton to $40/ton, which would be sold at $75/ton. The estimated production and extraction costs for the lower level coal are $22/ton which would be sold at $50/ton.