Coal producers establish Metallurgical Coal Producers Association

As the coal industry changes, four regional producers are forming the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association to focus on issues specific to the metallurgical coal industry.

Metallurgical coal is a precursor to steel.

“Traditionally, coal has been understood through its use in generating electricity.  We hope to expand the general public’s knowledge and understanding of coal in our everyday lives,” stated David Stetson, chairman of the board of the newly-formed association.

“Metallurgical coal makes progress possible and is critical to our economy.  Automobiles, household appliances, bridges, and buildings are a few products requiring steel which is made possible by metallurgical coal.

The metallurgical coal association is a result of restructuring and expanding the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance. The changes are effective immediately, and the association says it will begin its initial advocacy efforts in Virginia and West Virginia.

Leaders of the newly-formed association say the organization was prompted by the realities of a changing coal industry brought on by reduced demand for thermal coal and a subsequent shift of production by the founding members more toward metallurgical coal.

“The coal industry has experienced a tremendous transformation over the past decade,” stated Stetson, who is also chairman and chief executive of Contura Energy, one of the four founding coal-producing members.

“Collectively, the four coal producers and our associate members see value in building an association that pools our resources and channels our efforts for a common purpose. We look forward to working within this new framework.”

The four coal producers are: Contura Energy, Inc., Coronado Coal LLC, United Coal Company LLC (a subsidiary of Metinvest Group), and RAMACO Resources, Inc.

The association says it is in discussions with other metallurgical coal producers that expressed interest.

The producers are banking on increased manufacturing and reinvestment in critical infrastructure to drive demand for metallurgical coal.

“Despite the historical highs and lows in metallurgical market pricing, we believe metallurgical coal will continue to serve as a vital ingredient in the production of steel for many years to come,” Stetson stated.

“The operations represented by this group not only provide jobs and economic opportunity in our region, but also produce a valuable product that is being used to build critical infrastructure both domestically and abroad.”

Ben Beakes is serving as the chief lobbyist of the association in West Virginia.  Beaks served as director of external affairs for Alpha Natural Resources before launching his Three Point Strategies firm, where he continued to represent Alpha and then Contura Energy as its lobbyist.

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