Hamilton believes several idled mines will restart in the months ahead

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A British holding company has pulled the trigger on plans to restart operations at a Mingo County coal mine with a large amount of metallurgical coal reserves.

Chris Hamilton

Bens Creek Group will reportedly restart the Glen Alum mine in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Chris Hamilton, President of the West Virginia Coal Association, doesn’t believe it will be the last operation to restart in the months ahead.

“Going back into these mines that were temporarily shutdown or abandoned. There are still good reserves in there and when the price of coal hits a certain level it makes it more economical to go back into some of those remnant reserves. We think there will be additional opportunities in the near future,” Hamilton said.

The company plans to hire 60 to 70 workers to help mine the coal, those will come from an apparent blend of company hired miners and contract employees. Hamilton said he believed they’ll have no trouble filling the jobs despite an ongoing labor shortage in most industries these days.

“There’s been a lot of miners who have moved on from the industry, but there’s been a lot of miners furloughed in places like Eastern Kentucky and not too far from here. We think this will attract a number of individuals to consider these opportunities,” he explained.

The global demand for met coal has been soaring in 2021 and is growing for steam coal as well with stockpiles starting to dwindle. Some analysts project the global market for steel could exceed 2.2 BILLION metric tons by the year 2026. That is a 30 percent increase from the estimate of 2020.

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