PRB, Illinois Basin coal poised for rise: Boyce

WHILE suffering may be an understatement for what the coal market has been enduring over the past year or two, Peabody Energy chairman and chief executive officer Gregory Boyce says two of the nation’s top coal basins are going to see a resurgence.
PRB, Illinois Basin coal poised for rise: Boyce PRB, Illinois Basin coal poised for rise: Boyce PRB, Illinois Basin coal poised for rise: Boyce PRB, Illinois Basin coal poised for rise: Boyce PRB, Illinois Basin coal poised for rise: Boyce

Peabody Energy chairman and chief executive officer Gregory Boyce

Donna Schmidt

According to the St Louis Business Journal, Boyce told an industry crowd during a Barcelona metals and mining conference that both the Powder River Basin and the Illinois Basin, the latter of which includes a portion of the hard-hit state of Kentucky, was projected to see more than 25% growth between 2012 and 2017 – or about 130 million tons.

Combined, the regions produced 515Mt last year.

Peabody has the top spot in both for sales and holdings.

The producer said it realized 139Mt in the PRB, or about 36% of the basin’s total 388Mt, while in the Illinois Basin it produced 27.4Mt, a 21% slice of the 128Mt of tonnage produced by all operators.

Boyce noted the drop in natural gas prices plaguing the coal market over the past year was beginning to turn around.

Peabody estimates gas generation is down some 14% to date this year and coal has risen 11%.

Some of that change is already being seen in power plant generation, with many facilities switching back to coal as gas prices bounce back up.

Earlier this month, Peabody confirmed in a financial filing that it had extended Boyce’s employment contract.

While the executive was scheduled to step down from his post at the end of next year, he will stay with Peabody for an additional year as executive chairman, or until his successor is selected.

In the filing released April 29, Peabody said Boyce’s compensation would remain the same even if the incoming CEO was appointed before his contract expired.

In 2015, his salary will drop from about $1.23 million to roughly $900,000, with a reduction in his bonus opportunities.

Total compensation, including base salary, for 58-year-old Boyce was $9,491,405 in 2012.

Boyce has been a Peabody director since March 2005. He was named CEO in January 2006 and elected chairman in October 2007.

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