White Energy ready to fill US coal market gap

DESPITE the pressures in the US domestic coal market, demand remains for high quality, low-ash stoker coals in the US, according to White Energy’s US subsidiary Mountainside Coal Company based in Kentucky.

Lou Caruana

This underpins MCC’s strategy of becoming a key player in the value-added sized coal smelting markets, where specialty coals continue to command a premium price.

“It was always the intention for MCC to substantially exit the thermal coal market and focus on mining those coal seams which can be supplied into the specialty markets,” the company said in its latest quarterly report.

“Following the recent commissioning of the new coal wash plant, this strategy is now well underway.”

MCC’s management focus has turned to marketing activities associated with the ongoing sales of the high value and low-ash stoker coal product. This focus initially centred on the US domestic market, however, it is MCC’s intention to also export stoker product in the short to medium-term.

Commissioning of a coal wash plant at the Indian Gap site was completed in late February. Since then more than 20,000 short tons of run-of-mine coal has been washed through the plant.

“Significantly, washing and screening of the low-ash specialty Blue Gem coal, sourced from MCC’s Flat Creek mine, started in early March 2015,” the company said.

“The first ROM coal produced from the pits mined by MCC has been of very good quality, which has enabled MCC to produce washed stoker coal product with less than 2% ash and sell some of this early tonnage in the US domestic market at more than double the current market price for thermal coals.”