Coal Diver Everything you wanted to know about coal, but were afraid to ask.

Most recent coal mining news items

Cloud Peak Energy and Ambre Energy Announce Completion of Ambre Energy’s Purchase of Decker Mine Interest from Cloud Peak Energy

September 15, 2014

Ambre Energy Limited has finalized its purchase of Cloud Peak Energy’s interest in the Decker Mine located in the Powder River Basin. Ambre now holds 100% of the Decker Mine.  As a condition of the sale, Ambre will assume all liabilities for the mine, including reclamation, and has replaced the outstanding bonds.

Additionally, as part of this deal, Cloud Peak was granted an option to export 7 million metric tons through Ambre’s proposed Millenium Bulk Terminals.

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More bad news for Ambre: Army Corps pauses Morrow Pacific review


September 15, 2014

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has placed a hold on Ambre Energy Limited’s application to construct a barge loading terminal at the Port of Morrow in Oregon.  Ambre proposed this facility to export coal mined in the Powder River Basin to asian markets to offset flagging domestic demand.

The proposed terminal has faced harsh criticism in Oregon, where some see the coal exports as a threat to the Columbia river and the communities situated near it.

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Peabody Energy to be removed from S&P 500 index

September 12, 2014

Peabody Energy will be removed from the S&P 500 index, often considered a bellweather of the U.S. Stock Market effective September 19.  Peabody will be moved to the S&P 400 MidCap index.  This move is likely a result of the market capitalization or market cap, being down to $3.9 billion as of September 12, 2014, a large reduction from the original market cap of $10 billion when Peabody first joined the S&P 500 in November 2006.

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Anglo American to shutter last Tumbler Ridge coal mine

September 11, 2014

Trend Mine, the last mine operated at Tumbler Ridge will be shuttered by the end of the year.  Anglo American Coal was the operator of the Trend Mine.  Anglo American Coal’s President, Frederico Valasquez, stated that they would begin to wind down the operations in December.

This closure follows the April closure of two Tumbler Ridge mines by Walter Energy and a flood of mine closures in 2000.  All of these mine closures have left the district without a working mine.  However, the community has been trying to diversify their economy by expanding into the tourism and wind energy sectors in the recent years.

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Patriot Coal announces 360 possible layoffs at Boone County mining complex, Gov. Tomblin responds

September 9, 2014

Boone County, West Virginia may see more lay-offs, as 360 Patriot Coal Corporation employees were given WARN notices on September 9.  The potential layoffs result from market pressure from mild summer weather and low natural gas prices.  Patriot’s President, Bennet K. Hatfield, and West Virginia Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, also cite to the new carbon dioxide rules released by the Environmental Protection Agency as impacting the company.

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James River’s $52 Million Sale to Blackhawk Unit Approved


August 26, 2014

Blackhawk Mining, LLC, a Lexington, Kentucky company, will purchase a mining unit from James River Coal Company, which is undergoing bankruptcy reorganization.  U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Huennekens is presiding over the proceedings to distribute the James River’s declared $1 Billion in assets to pay $800k in debts.  The Judge has approved the sale for $52M.

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What Happens after Coal?

May 28, 2014

A potential indicator of the future of coal can be seen in Salem, Massachusetts where a 720-megawatt coal and oil fired plant that has been open since 1951 will be shutting down permanently on June 1st.  The plant will be demolished and replaced with a 674-megawatt gas plant with one-third the footprint. There are also plans for construction of operations for a future offshore wind farm.

This coal-fired plant is just one of hundreds set to close nationwide by 2020, according to the Department of Energy. As the gas boom continues throughout the United States and tight restrictions are imposed on carbon emissions, the future of coal appears to be facing some tough roads ahead.

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‘Poster child’ coal generator embodies pollution challenge

May 28, 2014

When the Obama administration began the push for restricting the pollution being released from coal plants, one of the nation’s heaviest coal polluters alleged that they would face devastating consequences as a result.

Three years later none of these allegations have occurred. Instead, the Homer City power plant is now a success story on how some of the dirtiest and oldest coal power plants can lower their pollution levels in accordance with the EPA rules. Not only will the plant in western Pennsylvania meet the new restrictions but also they will be doing this without increasing the electricity bills for their consumers.

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Rail congestion expected to plague Powder River Basin coal into late 2014

May 22, 2014

The Powder River Basin is expected to face severe rail congestion until at least late 2014 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Despite the frigid winter and an increased demand for coal to restock pile utilities, the delays from winter weather have created a backlog of coal shipments. Additionally, a shorter harvest season and the boom in domestic oil production created the increased need for rail cars. All of these factors have cause severe delays in rail deliveries out of the Powder River Basin.

Mines like Arch Coal are seeing this first hand such as at the Black Thunder mine where the company will be trying to fulfill their orders throughout the remainder of 2014.

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China Targets 70 Gigawatts of Solar Power to Cut Coal Reliance

May 19, 2014

As Washington state governor Jay Inslee recently stated that he looks to wean Washington state utilities off of coal completely, China publicly released a plan last week to speed up their solar power development. This is in response to the devastating pollution caused as a result of coal consumption in China and the growing public pressure to switch to more clean burning power.

In combination, these decisions could have a major long-term impact on the coal companies of the Powder River Basin whom rely heavily on coal exports to the Chinese market as well as utilities in the nearby Northwest.

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