James River Coal idles two mining complexes and a surface mine

James River Coal (NASDAQ: JRCC), like many coal producers hit hard by a mediocre coal market, said Sept. 16 that it is idling more mining complexes.

Being idled are the: McCoy Elkhorn Coal mines and prep plants; Bledsoe Coal mines and prep plants; and the Long Branch surface mine. Furloughed are approximately 525 full-time employees.

James River said in its brief statement that these actions are due to continued weakness in the domestic and international coal markets. The anticipated date to restart these operations is unknown at this time and subject to the coal market.

Said the company’s March 8 Form 10-K annual report about Bledsoe, which shipped 1.1 million tons in 2012: “The Bledsoe complex is located in Leslie and Harlan counties in eastern Kentucky. Our underground mines use room and pillar mining. We mine the Hazard #4 seam of coal at this complex. Coal is processed at one of two preparation plants and loaded into railcars at a separate location via a four-hour unit train loadout on the CSX railroad. As of December 31, 2012, we employed 273 mining and support personnel at this complex.”

Said the Form 10-K about McCoy Elkhorn, which shipped 1.6 million tons in 2012: “The McCoy Elkhorn complex is located in Pike and Floyd counties in eastern Kentucky. Our underground mines use room and pillar mining. We mine the Millard and Elkhorn #3 seams at this complex. Coal is processed at our three preparation plants and loaded into railcars via integrated four-hour unit train loadouts on the CSX railroad. As of December 31, 2012, we employed 350 mining and support personnel at this complex.”

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that the Long Branch strip job is in Johnson County, Ky., is listed under James River Coal Service Co., and that it produced 76,626 tons of coal in the first half of this year and 100,737 tons in all of 2012.

James River Coal is one of the leading coal producers in Central Appalachia and Indiana in the Illinois Basin. It sells metallurgical, bituminous steam and industrial-grade coal to electric utilities, many of them in the southeast U.S., and industrial customers both domestically and internationally. The company’s operations are managed through eight operating subsidiaries located in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and southern Indiana.

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.