Rhino investor relations vice president Scott Morris told ILN that excavation work had commenced at the western Kentucky mine, which could employ as many as 250 people by 2017.
Morris said production of coal was scheduled to begin in mid-2014 with an initial annual production rate of 800,000 tons from 2015.
“Annual production can be increased to 2 million tons per year by 2017 depending upon market conditions,” he added.
Initial employee numbers will be around 67 but are likely to increase to as many as 250 with the scale-up of production.
“We are excited to move forward with this project as we enter into the expanding Illinois Basin and we believe our Riveredge mine's direct river access provides us with a unique competitive advantage to ship coal to a large regional customer base and potential export markets,” Morris said.
The Riveredge minesite is in McLean County on the Green River and is expected to produce quality Illinois Basin thermal coal.
Excluding the Riveredge project, Rhino operates three coal mines in Kentucky, one in West Virginia, two in Ohio, one in Utah and one in Colorado.
It has other natural resource holdings, including oil and gas and limestone.