The Cumberland Coal Resources LP subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) has temporarily suspended production at its Cumberland longwall mine in Greene County, Pa., due to adverse geological conditions in the mine’s headgate area.
While mine employees work to mitigate the conditions that halted operations, the mine is on idle status as of July 15, and coal shipments have ceased, Alpha said in a July 15 statement. Cumberland’s management currently anticipates that it will be at least several weeks before production resumes. During this period the mine will maintain a reduced workforce of employees who are key to bringing the longwall back into production.
Cumberland and Alpha’s nearby Emerald mine are each equipped with longwalls and are major producers of high-sulfur, Pittsburgh-seam coal for mostly the power plant market. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that Cumberland produced nearly 2 million tons in the first quarter of this year, 6.4 million tons in all of 2012 and 6.2 million tons in 2011.
Virginia-based Alpha is one of the largest and most regionally diversified coal suppliers in the U.S. With mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming, Alpha supplies metallurgical coal to the steel industry and thermal coal to generate power to customers on five continents.