Cline company adds extra features to new Indiana coal dock

Coal operator Chris Cline’s Sitran LLC was approved April 4 by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for a revised air permit allowing changes at the company’s newly-built rail-to-barge coal transloading facility on the Ohio River.

The company has added to the permit an additional coal storage pile, increased coal storage pile capacity and revised moisture content data for the coal. The revised permit covers:

  • one enclosed rail car unloading building with a maximum throughput of 20 million tons of coal per year, which was approved for construction in 2010;
  • one covered coal conveying system, consisting of three main conveyors and two small conveyors, with a maximum overall throughput of 20 million tons of coal per year, also approved for construction in 2010;
  • coal loading onto barges, with a maximum loading potential of 5,000 tons of coal per hour;
  • and three coal storage piles, with a maximum size of 1 million tons and a maximum height of 125 feet.

“The Office of Air Quality (OAQ) has reviewed an application, submitted by Sitran LLC on March 15, 2012, relating to the addition of a coal storage pile and increase the storage pile capacity,” said the IDEM approval. “Additionally, Sitran LLC has received site-specific moisture content so the calculations have been revised to reflect the actual moisture content of the coal. The source has also provided revised fugitive emission calculations from unpaved roads which more accurate reflect the operations of the facility. Lastly, the description of the rail car unloading building has been revised to reflect that a dust control system (not required to comply with permit conditions) was not installed.”

Cline’s Foresight Energy Partners LP, which plans to go public in an IPO, said about this dock in a Feb. 2 Form S-1 filing at the SEC: “We have constructed a high-capacity coal transloading facility on the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana. The terminal will include the potential for a dual rail loop that will have capacity for two loaded and two empty unit trains, a bottom discharge rail car unloader, stacking tubes to facilitate ground storage and blending and both barge and rail loading capabilities.”

The Form S-1 later added: “Sitran has a contract with Coalfield Construction LLC pursuant to which Coalfield Construction provides contract labor for the contracts for the operation and maintenance of a coal transloading dock on the Indiana side of the Ohio River to load coal delivered from our mines via the Evansville Western Railway onto barges for delivery to our customers.”

Foresight Energy is developing three longwall-equipped mining complexes and one room-and-pillar mining complex in southern Illinois, with some of that coal moving through this new dock. The first complex, Williamson, already has a longwall. Up to eight longwalls in total are planned at three complexes. Total production for Foresight at the four complexes could eventually hit 65 million tons per year. In 2010, Foresight produced 7.2 million tons of coal, and during the first nine months of 2011, it produced 7.9 million tons of coal.

“We plan to commence new longwall mining operations at each of Sugar Camp and Hillsboro in the first nine months of 2012, which we expect will significantly increase our coal production,” said the Form S-1. “At each of these two complexes, we are currently producing coal from continuous miners, and the underground and surface facilities are already largely constructed. At full run rate, each of these longwalls has a targeted productive capacity of at least 7 million tons per year. Sugar Camp and Hillsboro are designed to provide us with organic growth opportunities for subsequent years by adding additional longwall mining systems to the same complexes.”

Said the S-1 filing about the markets for this coal: “Many domestic utilities have installed or are planning to install scrubbers, which is expanding the market for high sulfur coal from the Illinois Basin and the Northern Appalachian region. According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, 198 GWs, or 63% of total capacity, of electric generating units in the United States was scrubbed in 2011. Wood Mackenzie expects scrubbed capacity to increase to 268 GWs, or 100% of total capacity, by 2025. In addition, Wood Mackenzie forecasts domestic Illinois Basin demand increasing by over 75 million tons within the next 15 years, with much of the demand deriving from the southeastern and midwest regions.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.