Massey declares force majeure after flooding

US MINER Massey Energy declared force majeure on contracts with about 15 domestic and export customers after flooding at the Ellis Eagle longwall mine in April.

Staff Reporter

The longwall was relocated from Independence Coal Company’s Upper Cedar Grove mine after severe geological problems towards the end of last year. Operations began at Ellis Eagle mine in January.

The flooding has caused significant disruption to coal production and shipments from both the Marfork and Goals preparation plants have been impacted, Massey said. Marfork is supplied by the Upper Big Branch mine as well as Ellis Eagle. Additionally, the Marfork plant has suffered numerous flood-related operating problems due to excessive moisture in the raw coal.

"Although missed shipments cannot be precisely predicted, these operations are not expected to achieve normal production levels until early May," Massey said.

Massey said the flood-related problems might have a negative impact on second quarter earnings of about US6c per share.

Massey Energy chairman Don Blankenship said demand for Massey's Central Appalachian production remains strong, with many coal buyers now seeking supply coverage through 2002 and 2003.

"Our willingness to invest in new equipment and coal production infrastructure during the weak market of the late 1990s should serve us well next year and beyond," he said.