Full production from the Pond Creek seam is expected within the next few weeks, according to company officials. The process to bring the rehabilitated mine back to operation took five months.
“Despite a number of delays and setbacks experienced in bringing the property online into the coal production stage, we feel that production could not have come at a better time given the recent surge in global coal prices," said Quest president Eugene Chiaramonte.
Mine contractor Whitestar Mining president Everett Hampton added that, at prime output rates, the mine will produce about 1500–2000 raw tons of coal daily. Once that full production mode is entered, officials said the focus will change to bringing its Cedar Grove operation online.
Whitestar noted that Cedar Grove’s output is expected to be about the same as Pond Creek’s.
In March, the Kentucky mine operated by Quest subsidiary Gwenco passed its triple A inspection with federal mine inspectors. Whitestar moved a Joy 14-10 continuous miner unit into place at the face at that time in preparation to cut once all approvals were met.
Chiaramonte said at the time that Pond Creek’s output was in demand in the coal market, as it features an inherent sulfur level below 0.6% and over 13,000 BTUs as clean coal.
“We have serious bids for orders and are looking forward to shipping in spring,” he said, adding the Pond Creek seam is widely mined in the area as a metallurgical blend coal.
Officials also said last month that the company is eager to begin fulfilling its $US8 million contract with Logan & Kanawha.