Armstrong Coal will begin mining operations next month at the Big Run mine near Centertown with up to 120 miners.
Armstrong announced last August that it planned to resume coal production at Big Run, which was previously operated by Peabody Coal. Peabody closed the mine in 2006, citing a declining demand for coal.
Now however, increased demand by China for imported coal has revived demand and Armstrong is working to open up to five mines – both surface and underground – in Ohio County to help meet that demand.
Their endeavor is supported by the latest report on international coal consumption from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which forecasts a 74 percent increase in world coal consumption between 2004 and 2030 and predicts that international coal trade will increase 44 percent from 2005 to 2030.
Following the Big Run opening in April, Armstrong plans to open the Midway surface mine in Ohio County by late April or early May, with the East Fork surface mine opening in July or August. Armstrong anticipates hiring up to 80 jobs for the Midway mine, while the East Fork mine will employ 50 to 70 workers.
Armstrong plans to open two more Ohio County mines by 2009 and expects employment to reach approximately 600. The company anticipates having a total of 850 to 900 workers by 2011.