The miner was delivered in mid-January and was put to work in the second section of the operation, which is now ramping up to fully operational status.
Within the first few days of having the new CM in operation, coal production from both sections of the mine climbed to 1650 tons per day and continues to steadily increase, America West said, adding that the miner would be fully operational within the next 30 days.
Once that is done, Horizon’s production is expected to increase to about 60,000 tons per month. That will help America West reach the critical milestone of becoming cashflow positive.
"For the past couple of years, we have remained firmly focused on executing a mine development plan capable of optimizing our valuable coal assets at Horizon and transforming America West Resources into a major domestic coal producer,” the company said Tuesday.
“With our second continuous miner now in operation, we are much better positioned to accelerate coal production and more effectively fulfill the needs of our customer base, which at this time collectively represents sales of up to $US500 million for our company over the next decade."
The Salt Lake City-based producer said last month that, with a coal sales backlog necessitating production worth as much as $200 million over the next five years and up to $500 million over the next 10 years, it had been putting several key initiatives into place to optimize its thermal coal assets.
"Demand for our compliant coal is at an all-time high, so it is crucial that we stay on plan to ensure that we are in a position to effectively address our customers' needs,” America West president and chief executive officer Dan Baker said at the time.
Horizon’s expansions over the next several months should allow for three sections to be simultaneously mined at the underground mine.
“In addition, we will strive to introduce a longwall mining system in late 2011 to significantly escalate our production levels to the point where we are safely extracting hundreds of thousands of tons of coal per month,” Baker said.