CSX Transportation recently posted a notice to its website about its access to the recently revived and rebuilt Affinity prep plant in Raleigh County, W.Va., which is a United Coal Co. LLC operation that processes coal for the newly-revived Affinity underground mine.
“Affinity, WV is a new/old CSXT coal origin that will be accessed via trackage rights over NS,” said the notice. “It was formerly accessed direct via the C&O’s RSW&WG subdivision and was identified as Keystone 5 (aka Affinity). The mine produces low vol metallurgical coal and had been closed since the mid 1980s.”
The site is at milepost CAQ 7, has a four-hour loading capability and is operated under Affinity Coal, the notice said.
United Coal parent Metinvest announced in July 2011 the re-start of the Affinity mine. The planned capacity of this coal mining operation is 1.9 million tonnes per year. Dale Birchfield, President of Affinity Coal, said at the time: “We are very pleased that this project, which will comprise four super sections and a state of the art preparation plant, has been fully completed on time. The mine’s opening ceremony is the culmination of joint efforts of our committed employees, contractors and the Norfolk Southern Railroad. We are particularly honoured to have the Board of Directors of Metinvest in attendance, and appreciate their confidence in this strategically important project.”
The mine produced 70,421 tons in the first half of this year, and 8,071 tons during 2011 after a production start in the second quarter of that year, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.
Notable also is that NS has agreed to grant overhead and local trackage rights to CSX over the Pemberton Line, located between milepost WG12.0 near Helen, W. Va., and milepost WG23.6 at Pemberton, W. Va., a distance of about 11.6 miles. The railroads worked out that deal in May and filed July 26 for approval with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which posted a notice about the application in the Aug. 10 Federal Register.
The purpose of the transaction is to permit CSX to serve all existing and future customers at any point or connection located on the Pemberton Line, including access to and use of NS side tracks at Helen, W.Va., and Amigo, W.Va., for use as interchange facilities between NSR and CSXT, including, but not limited to, use of those side tracks with respect to service to the “East Gulf Mine” and other Stone Coal Branch traffic handled by agreement for CSX by NS from time to time, said the STB notice.
The term “East Gulf Mine” is an apparent reference to the East Gulf prep plant of Pocahontas Coal, another unit of United Coal that operates several small mines that feed metallurgical coal into the East Gulf plant. The Pocahontas Coal operations are near the south (Helen) end of the Pemberton Line.