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 MCPA Opens 44th Annual Conference Emphasizing ‘Met Coal Makes Steel’ as Key Industry Message

“Met Coal Makes Steel” was the recurring message Monday during the opening day of the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (MCPA) 44th Annual Conference in Roanoke, WV. This year’s conference focused on perspectives and outlook for the metallurgical coal industry.

Panelists from five of the MCPA’s met coal producer members shared their perspectives on the industry during a morning panel discussion which followed a brief presentation by MCPA President Ben Beakes and welcome by MCPA Chairman Bob Cline.

Ben Beakes, MCPA President

Bob Cline, Coronado Global Resources, MCPA Chairman

Beakes noted MCPA members now make up of the majority of met coal produced in the United States, having recruited a new producer member in the past year and 14 new associate members. The organization began with four producer members in two states and 75 associate members and has now grown to include four states, six producer members and 125 associate members. 

He pointed out the many uses of Met coal in making steel – 52 percent of which is used for infrastructure needs; 13 percent for automotive needs; and 16 percent for mechanical needs.

Seventy-five percent of the Met coal produced in the U.S., he said, is exported, further illustrating steel’s global commodity status. While pricing has decreased from the $600 to $650 per ton mark of just a few years ago, it still remains hovering around the $200 per ton mark, while the cost of mining has risen due to inflation to the $120-$130 per ton mark.

Predominantly, Beakes said, 56 percent of MCPA member export coal passes through the port at Norfolk, Va. The Port of Baltimore, until the recent bridge catastrophe there, had 18 percent of the market; while the Port at Mobile, Ala., held 16 percent.

In a 2022-23 comparison of Met coal exports, Beakes noted statistics show North America experienced a 10.9 percent increase; South America, a 16.4 percent increase; Europe, a 10.9 percent decrease; and Asia, a 34.7 percent increase.  Top steel producers in 2021-2022, he said were China, India, Japan, the United States and Russia.

“We have been on a mission in marketing metallurgical coal,” Beakes said, showing the organization’s marketing plan across all channels. “That mission is to show that ‘Met Coal makes steel’.”

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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Enlow Fork Mine Tour Offers Rare Glimpse Into Underground City

At the start of their shift, the coal miners working on Enlow Fork Mine’s H-3 longwall section step into a black steel elevator and descend 800 feet underground, where they walk out through a heavy airlock door and into a part of the earth that few people ever see.

It’s a two-minute trip to the bottom of the Consol Energy Inc. coal mine in Prosperity, Washington County.

The area is surprisingly well-lit, with a concrete floor, telephone, computer, and emergency supplies stored in cabinets. The mine walls near the entrance are sprayed with fire-resistant shotcrete, a cement-like material used for mines, subways, tunnels, and swimming pools.

“This is pretty much where everybody’s day starts. It’s a high-traffic area, and we try to protect it because this area, for the life of this mine, will be here, so you figure another 25 or 30 years,” said Mike Koffler, assistant supervisor at Enlow Fork Mine, who led a group of reporters on a tour of the mine on May 9.

Then, the miners load into mantrips – shuttles that carry the miners and their supplies throughout the mine on a maze of subway-like tracks – and they settle in for the half-hour ride to the section of the mine they’re working on.

There, they will spend eight-hour shifts operating shearers and other state-of-the-art equipment to cut coal from the wall. The coal travels on underground conveyor belts that come out at the surface. There, overland conveyor belts take the coal to be sorted.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.

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Consol Energy Aims to be a Leading Force in Slowing the Shift to Renewable Energy

The trip into the belly of Consol’s Enlow Fork Mine, one of three in the company’s Pennsylvania Mining Complex which spans an area the size of Manhattan, is slow and a little bumpy.

It begins in an elevator that descends about 800 feet. From there, settle in for a 30-minute ride on a diesel-powered rail car. As walls narrow and overhead lights recede into darkness, the locomotive bumps along at 8 mph before turning into the active longwall section where a city’s worth of infrastructure is trained on cutting down walls of coal underneath Western Pennsylvania. It’s the speed of the actual mining — the ferocity of the shears that cut up to 2,000 tons of coal per hour — that stands out in contrast to the otherwise subdued pace underground.

Assistant mine superintendent Mike Koffler discusses mine operations on an elevator descent into the Consol Energy Enlow Fork Mine near Washington, Pa. on Thursday, May 9, 2024.
(Sebastian Foltz/Post-Gazette)

Pacing is a multifaceted theme at Consol Energy Inc., a 160-year-old coal mining company with its headquarters in the oil and gas mecca of Southpointe in Washington County.

At the entrance to the mine’s portal in Prosperity is the first of many “Not So Fast” signs.

A perfectly reasonable interpretation of the sign’s message is that cars should move slowly in the parking lot. But the slogan was developed with another collision in mind: the speed at which the country is shifting away from fossil fuels.

It’s both a call to slow down the transition to renewable energy and to challenge the thinking behind that shift.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

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NMA Statement on BLM Banning New Coal Leasing in the Powder River Basin

The National Mining Association (NMA) today issued the following comments from Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO, on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to ban new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin.

Rich Nolan

“At a time of deteriorating grid reliability, soaring electricity demand and ongoing concern about global energy shocks, proposing a plan of no new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin is outrageous. This damages American energy security and affordability and is a severe economic blow to mining states and communities. The NMA strongly opposes this political move, not only because it ignores the nation’s continued need for federal coal but because it also fails to acknowledge BLM’s multiple use mandate under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.”

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The Biden Administration Energy Agenda is Putting America’s Affordable, Reliable Energy at Risk

During the month of March, 48.8 million adults (23.3% of country) were unable to pay their monthly utility bill in full.  Undoubtedly tens of millions more sacrificed other essential needs to cover their energy costs.  Electricity grid operators across the nation are sounding the alarm that electricity reliability is highly vulnerable exposing families and businesses to potential brownouts or worse.  Bottom line, the Biden Administration has launched a multi-wave assault on affordable, reliable energy as it attempts to advance a narrow-minded view of what constitutes clean energy.

One wave of their assault was passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which included $369 billion “to modernize the American energy system” and which disproportionately subsidizes intermittent wind and solar power generation at the expense of America’s baseload power generation.  These incentives are doled out to wind and solar generation with no requirement to install electricity storage to sustain electricity reliability when the wind and sun do not show up for work.  This is contributing to accelerated baseload power generation retirements and unprecedented grid reliability challenges across our country.  On average, renewables provide less than nine hours of electricity each day and consumers cannot pick the nine hours they want their electricity.  That is left to the vagaries of the wind and sun and on cloudy, windless days renewables provide little or nothing.

In a second wave of their assault, President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency, in a single day, introduced four new regulations, which target affordable, reliable baseload coal-fired power plants and new natural gas plants.  These regulations were rushed out EPA’s door to marginalize Congress’ full opportunity to scrutinize them under the Congressional Review Act.  Further, EPA has promised that more regulations are forthcoming on existing natural gas plants. 

These regulations came under immediate fire from the Rural Electric Cooperatives, which consume coal to the benefit of 42 million rural women and men, farmers across our country and a host of small businesses.  Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association said it best, “The path outlined by the EPA is unlawful, unrealistic and unachievable.”  “It undermines electric reliability and poses grave consequences for an already stressed electric grid.”  “This barrage of new EPA rules ignores our nation’s ongoing electric reliability challenges and is the wrong approach at a critical time for our nation’s energy future.”

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

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