Patriot Coal Idles Jupiter Mining Complexadmin
Patriot Coal Corporation announced that it intends to idle its Jupiter mining complex by the end of 2008. The Jupiter complex produced 1.5 million tons of thermal coal in 2007. The complex currently consists of one underground mine, and previously included the Thunderhill surface mine, which was closed as a result of an October 2007 court injunction that blocked the use of a lawfully issued mining permit. The constrained underground labor environment, increased MSHA inspections, and difficult geologic conditions have contributed to reduced production at the complex in 2008. Combined with the loss of the tons from the surface mine, this has resulted in an unacceptably high cost structure at the Jupiter complex.
“As part of the combination with Magnum, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of our mining complexes and their relative cost structures. The idling of the Jupiter complex is one step in this process, as we continue to identify synergies and optimize our combined operations,” noted Patriot Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Whiting. “As this facility is idled, our skilled workers and operators at the Jupiter complex will be offered excellent employment opportunities at nearby companies affiliated with Patriot. This should help Patriot in better addressing the challenging labor shortages in underground mines in the Central Appalachian region. Additionally, we plan to redeploy equipment from Jupiter to other more productive operations to better utilize our capital.”
Patriot Coal Corporation is the third largest producer and marketer of coal in the eastern United States, with 22 Company-operated mines and numerous contractor-operated mines in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. The Company ships to domestic and international electric utilities, industrial users and metallurgical coal customers, and controls approximately 1.9 billion tons of proven and probable coal reserves. The Company’s common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PCX.