Geological issues cut into Patriot's plans

ISSUES at Patriot Coal’s Federal and Panther operations that resulted in extended longwall moves, paired with the closure of its Big Mountain thermal operation, have resulted in a third quarter production shortfall for the Eastern coalfields producer.
Geological issues cut into Patriot's plans Geological issues cut into Patriot's plans Geological issues cut into Patriot's plans Geological issues cut into Patriot's plans Geological issues cut into Patriot's plans

Image courtesy of Patriot Coal.

Donna Schmidt

The company’s Federal and Panther operations in West Virginia, both scheduled for longwall moves during the third quarter, have each contended with geological issues that extended them beyond the planned timeframe.

“Production at the Federal longwall was down over six weeks during the quarter as a result of geologic challenges that delayed the start of the move, as well as equipment issues impacting the restart process,” officials said.

“At Panther, difficult geology is expected to result in lower volumes in the third quarter, in addition to the scheduled longwall move.”

Also, the Appalachian and Illinois Basin-focused producer is citing last month’s earthquake, the epicenter of which was in Virginia near Washington DC, for a significant roof fall at its contractor-operated Big Mountain complex in West Virginia that resulted in the mine’s closure.

Big Mountain had been riddled with recent roof fall issues. In late May federal officials fined the company $US6000 for taking four days to report a roof collapse

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration said it discovered the incident took place during an inspection and it was not notified of the event until it was discovered by inspectors.

As a result of the issues at all three mines, Patriot updated its guidance to include an average cost per ton that would be several dollars higher than its previous third quarter outlook.

Its whole-year guidance, officials said, would be released next month with its earnings for the current financial period.

Patriot Coal has 14 active complexes in Appalachia as well as the Illinois Basin region and controls about 1.9 billion tons of proved and probable reserves.

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