Coal Tattoo

Arch Coal closing Cumberland River complex

Here’s the news announced late yesterday afternoon by Arch Coal:

APPALACHIA, Va., July 21, 2014 — Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) today announced that it is idling the Cumberland River Coal Company complex (“Cumberland River”), located in Wise County, Va., and Letcher County, Ky. Cumberland River comprises two underground operations and related facilities. The mining complex previously shuttered two contract mines during the second quarter of 2013.

With this move, we are actively responding to currently challenged metallurgical coal markets while striving to enhance our overall competitive cost position in Appalachia,” said John W. Eaves, Arch’s president and chief executive officer. “Our strategy is to increasingly shift our portfolio toward higher-margin, lower-cost metallurgical coal operations, while retaining our valuable reserves for when market conditions strengthen in the future. We will continue to serve our customers here and abroad with the high level of quality they have come to expect from Arch.”

In total, 213 full-time positions will be eliminated by idling Cumberland River, and the company is taking steps to provide opportunities at other Arch subsidiaries where available.

“We deeply regret the need to take this action,” said Eaves. “We thank the men and women at Cumberland River for their dedication, hard work and strong commitment to operating in a safe and responsible manner.”

Cumberland River sold approximately 290,000 tons in the first half of 2014, consisting primarily of higher-cost metallurgical grade coal. The decision to idle operations at Cumberland River will reduce Arch’s annual 2014 metallurgical coal sales volumes by approximately 200,000 tons. As such, the company now expects to ship between 6.3 million and 6.9 million tons of metallurgical coal for 2014. Arch plans to provide an update regarding its full year 2014 expectations in its second quarter 2014 earnings release on July 29, 2014.

Cumberland River Coal Company is a subsidiary of Arch Coal, Inc.’s Catenary Coal Holdings, Inc.