According to CWLP spokeswoman Amber Sabin, the new price will remain in place through the duration of the contract that runs through December 31, 2020. Under the arrangement, Viper will supply “all the coal we would need,” normally about 1.2 million tons a year, she said. CWLP had paid around $45/ton for Viper coal under the previous accord. The Springfield City Council approved the contract by a 7 to 3 margin in early April.
Sabin said the municipality will pay an additional $2.42/ton to have the coal trucked the 20 or so miles from Viper, a continuous miner operation, to CWLP’s 572-megawatt (MW) Dallman power plant. Dallman’s first three units were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Its largest unit, 200-MW unit 4, went into commercial operation on June 1, 2009.
Arch produced and sold about 2.1 million tons at Viper in 2015. All of the mine’s coal is trucked to customers in the region. Arch acquired the Viper mine in 2011 as part of its $3.4 billion purchase of International Coal Group (ICG). Shell Mining Co.’s Turris Coal Co. subsidiary opened the mine in 1982. ICG bought the mine in 2004.
Viper is the only Illinois mine owned outright by Arch. The company owns a 49% stake in Knight Hawk Coal Co., which operates several underground and surface steam coal mines in southern Illinois. Arch, the country’s second-largest coal producer behind Peabody Energy Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on January 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis.