By St. Louis Business Journal

Arch Coal said it plans to keep its Dugout Canyon mine in Carbon County, Utah, closed for at least a month longer.

The underground mine has been idle since June 22, when a fire forced an evacuation.

Arch said it is working with regulators at the Mine Safety and Health Administration in the hope of opening the mine as soon as possible. With MSHAâ¿¿s approval, workers have re-entered the mine to install a remote monitoring system that will help determine whether any combustion activity is occurring.

⿿Our monitoring to date suggests that atmospheric readings are consistent with pre-event levels and show no signs of active combustion,⿝ said Paul Lang, Arch⿿s senior vice president of operations. ⿿Nevertheless, for added precaution, we plan to temporarily seal the active longwall panel in order to render the atmosphere behind the seals inert. We currently anticipate that the longwall will be idled for at least the next 30 days.⿝

As a result, the company now expects the mine to be out of production for longer than anticipated and has told customers that shipments are likely to be adversely impacted.

Dugout Canyon mine and its 275 employees produced about 200,000 tons of low-sulfur bituminous coal per month in the first quarter of 2010, which equals about 2 percent of Archâ¿¿s total production.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal Coal (NYSE:ACI) is the second largest U.S. coal producer with $2.6 billion in revenue in 2009. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies coal to fuel roughly 8 percent of the nationâ¿¿s electricity.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010