Buchanan back on track

CONSOL Energy’s Buchanan mine commenced production Tuesday after being idled in September due to skip hoist problems.
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Donna Schmidt

The hoist, which failed when it didn’t unload at the surface and then fell, has now been repaired with initial equipment installation successfully completed Monday.

The company originally slated the Virginia operation’s reopening for November. However, crews discovered the lower portion of the shaft had suffered more damage than originally thought, requiring the lower shaft and skip hoisting mechanism be replaced rather than repaired.

Pennsylvania-based Consol Energy is the largest high-Btu coal producer in the US. The Buchanan mine produces about 400,000 tons of low-volume metallurgical coal monthly.

About 200 mine employees were laid off while the repair work was conducted, and the company invoked the force majeure provision in its sales contracts while the mine was idle. No injuries were reported in the incident.

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