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Arch Coal plans for further expansion

Posted: Wednesday, Jun 13th, 2012

Submitted by Lorraine Isner

THORNTON - Development of Tygart Valley Mine is well underway. Part of the Arch Coal family of companies, Tygart Valley completed its first cut from the shaft bottom area with a continuous miner in November 2011.

This mine is located along Invandale Straight between Grafton and Thornton. “We’re hiring our core group of miners now,” said Tygart’s General Manager Scott Boylen.

Boylen went on to say, “We are investing on the order of $400 million in the region to bring this new mine online. Initial mining has been focused around the shaft bottom area in an effort to establish access to the mine’s reserve base. Our slope access into the mine is projected to be in full operation by October 2012, and we expect that our preparation plant and rail load-out will be completed in late 2012. The development of mine entries from the bottom area will continue outward until the perimeter of the first longwall panel is complete so that we can begin longwall mining in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

Arch Coal has released “Once complete, the mining complex will include a state-of-the-art longwall mining system, a preparation plant equipped with the latest technology, and a 130-car rail loadout facility.”

Mine officials anticipate that the Tygart Valley Mine will eventually employ between 350 and 400 people by late 2013.

In addition to Tygart Valley, the Shelby Run Mining Company is planning to develop the Tucker Run Mine, two miles north of Pruntytown. With a permit process estimated to take approximately 18 months, the development team anticipates construction to start in early 2014 with initial coal production in 2015.

Officials have released that the Tucker Run Mine is projected to produce between 500,000 and 600,000 tons of quality coal per year from the Lower Kittanning seam. Core drilling, water monitoring and environmental baseline studies are currently being done at the site.

Unlike the Tygart Valley Mine, which is a longwall mine, the Tucker Run Mine will be an underground mine using the room-and-pillar mining method.

This mine is projected to create up to 130 local jobs and inject between $12 – 14 million per year into the regional economy from employee payroll and benefits. Spokesman note that most employees will be recruited locally.

Coal from the Tucker Run Mine will be trucked to the nearby Tygart Valley Mine preparation plant, which is also operated by Arch Coal. Trucking routes and bonding have yet to be finalized with the Department of Transportation.

Arch Coal has previously stated that it plans to increase its coal production to 15 million tons per year by 2015 to meet growing demands from national and international customers  who require coal in the steelmaking process. Coking coal for steelmaking garners a premium price due to the scarcity of its coal quality.

“We view the state-of-the-art Tygart Valley complex as one of Arch Coal’s most exciting metallurgical projects,” said Kim Link, spokeswoman for St. Louis-based Arch Coal.

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