Early-reporting coal mine production data indicatesoperations that survived a precipitous downturn may be taking advantage ofrecent improvement indemand and prices.
Most of the first 23 U.S. coal mines with third-quarterproduction available are reporting increases in production over the priorquarter. The 23 mines cumulatively produced about 18.0% more coal in the thirdquarter than in the second quarter.
While coal mining is often subject to seasonal fluctuation,there has been indication from several producers lately that coal markets areimproving after many mines were shut down and natural gas prices have inchedupward.
The largest mine to report so far is 's Buckskinmine, which has reported an 81.6% increase in production to 1.7 million tonsquarter-to-quarter. However, the Buckskin mine is still a long way away fromits third-quarter production of 3.0 million in the year-ago period.
Signal PeakEnergy LLC's Bull Mountains No. 1 mine has seen production climb13.8% quarter-to-quarter to 1.6 million tons. 's El Segundo coalmine boosted production about 5.1% in the period.
Arch CoalInc., which recently emerged from bankruptcy, boosted coal production at itsBeckley Pocahontas mine by 4.0%. The mine produces metallurgical coal, a marketthat has seen significant improvement in recent months.
Data from four of Rhino Resource Partners LP mines shows that productionat those operations is down 13.2% quarter-to-quarter. is also acontroller of thosemines.