Foresight Energy LP (NYSE: FELP) reported July 28 that it has resumed longwall mining operations at its Deer Run Mine in Illinois, under a plan approved by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and that it will continue those mining activities over the next several days, until it reaches a location where the longwall can be safely recovered and re-located to a new longwall district.
Upon completion of this longwall move, Foresight said it will seal the current longwall district and then utilize continuous mining machines to resume development of the next longwall district, in a new area of the mine. Foresight continues to work with regulatory agencies for the purpose of completing this longwall move and fully resuming normal longwall mining operations at Deer Run.
Foresight had reported on July 20 that MSHA and the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals had approved Foresight’s plan to re-enter and restore power to a portion of the Deer Run mine, a major producer of high-sulfur coal. This allowed Foresight personnel to evaluate the ventilation and longwall mining systems and to address any needed rehabilitation to the underground facilities.
Foresight had announced April 28 that air readings have remained stabilized near ambient or normal historical levels for the prior thirteen days at Deer Run. Elevated carbon monoxide levels at the mine in excess of action levels forced an evacuation of the mine on March 26. Carbon monoxide, which can be deadly, is a sign of some form of combustion in the mine.
MSHA data shows that Deer Run, operated by contractor Patton Mining LLC, produced only 44,688 tons in the second quarter of this year, following production of 1.7 million tons in the first quarter and 5.6 million tons in all of 2014.
Foresight, founded by coal operator Chris Cline, is a leading coal producer in the Illinois basin region of the United States with control of over three billion tons of coal reserves currently supporting four mining complexes.