By now, Arch Coal Inc. hoped an expansion of its Dal-Tex mountaintop removal mine in Logan County would be churning out coal.
In March, a federal judge blocked permits for the expansion. Chief U.S. District Judge Charles Haden II wants to decide if the permits are legal before mining starts. Nearly 400 United Mine Workers face potential layoffs.
Today, Arch Coal makes up for the Dal-Tex production loss with increased coal mining at its two major nonunion mines in Southern West Virginia.
Arch Coal has increased production at its Mingo-Logan and Samples operations to offset the idling of Dal-Tex, according to corporate financial reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Laid-off UMW members have been offered some of the jobs created, but Arch Coal officials declined to provide specifics about the situation.
St. Louis-based Arch Coal provide general information about the moves in a quarterly report to stockholders, filed with the SEC on May 14.
"Management expects the decrease in production to be offset by increased production at the company's other eastern mines, Mingo Logan's new surface mine in the Phoenix reserve and the Samples Mine, which has added a new truck-shovel spread," the report said. "Management also plans to increase production at the company's Black Thunder Mine in the Powder River Basin, where several pieces of mining equipment from Dal-Tex have been relocated."
During the first three months of 1999, Arch Coal spent $6.8 million for the new truck-shovel spread at the Samples Mine on Cabin Creek in eastern Kanawha County.
Arch Coal also spent $1.8 million on equipment upgrades at Mingo-Logan during the quarter, the report said.
Arch Coal is West Virginia's largest coal producer. The company's mines in the state produced 26.9 million tons of coal in 1997, according to the West Virginia Coal Association.
The Mingo-Logan complex, a nonunion operation near Wharncliffe, is Arch Coal's largest West Virginia operation. It produced 5.7 million tons of coal in 1997.
David Todd, a spokesman for Arch Coal, said Mingo-Logan started a new surface mine last year in what the company calls its Phoenix reserves.
The mine produces about 1.5 million tons of coal a year, which was expected to be new production - and thus new revenues and profits - for Arch Coal.