Foresight reports progress with Illinois coal mine fire

Illinois coal producer Foresight Energy LP (NYSE: FELP) announced July 21 that efforts to extinguish the fire at its Hillsboro Energy LLC’s Deer Run Mine continued over the weekend, including the pumping of water into the mine.

The results were encouraging as carbon monoxide readings declined significantly, the company added. Foresight, together with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), is now attempting to corroborate the monitoring readings with conditions underground. Various safety protocols and procedures must be implemented before it can be verified that the fire has been extinguished.

The fire occurred and was contained in a tail-gate section of a previously mined area of this longwall-equipped operation and was not near current development or longwall operations of the mine.

Since production ceased on July 15, the mine’s customers have been serviced from Hillsboro Energy’s coal inventory. No force majeure has yet been declared but the company said it is reserving all of its rights under various coal supply agreements until it has a better understanding of the impact on its long-term production. The mine lately has been producing about 500,000 clean tons per month out of the high-sulfur Herrin No. 6 seam.

Although the full extent of the damage cannot be determined until MSHA determines it safe to enter the mine, Foresight does not currently anticipate that this event will have a material adverse effect on partnership results.

Foresight Energy, founded by coal operator Chris Cline, is a leading coal producer in the Illinois Basin region of the United States with over three billion tons of coal reserves currently supporting four mining complexes.

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.