Eaves said that a "strategic portfolio review is ongoing" that could "result in the future divestiture of some of Arch's noncore assets or reserves."
"The continued aggressive steps we're taking to optimize our portfolio will allow us to better manage through the current business cycle and to prosper in the inevitable market rebound," Eaves said.
The Arch announcement comes just one day after Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., urged coal industry officials to stop using "scare tactics" in their campaign to stop Obama administration efforts to reduce coal's impacts on the environment, public health and global warming.
Rockefeller voted against a Republican effort to block one of the Obama rules, and said other market pressures are more to blame than tougher environmental rules for coal's downturn.
"The shift to a lower carbon economy is not going away, and it's a disservice -- a terrible disservice -- to coal miners and their families to pretend that it is, to tell them that it is, that everything can be as it was," Rockefeller said. "That can't be. It's over."
Government data actually show that coal jobs were on the rise during the first three years of what industry lobbyists call Obama's "war on coal." But recent layoffs haven't begun to show up in that data.
Coal's share of electricity generation dropped to 36 percent during the first three months of 2012, well below the 50 percent still frequently cited by industry supporters. Expert forecasts call for a continued decline in coal's market share, and for significant drops in Southern West Virginia production over the next decade.
Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said Thursday he was "extremely disappointed" in Rockefeller and that the industry's public relations campaign is absolutely correct when it argues "Appalachia is just totally under assault" by the Obama administration's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"I don't look at it as scare tactics," Raney said. "I don't think he's talking about our ads. They aren't scare tactics. We've tried our best to be very positive about this thing."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.