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Knight Hawk is 'sold out' on projected 2018 coal production of 5 million tons

Knight Hawk Coal LLC is "effectively sold out" on projected record production of at least 5 million tons in 2018, CEO Steve Carter said March 19.

The company produced roughly 4.8 million tons in 2017, but should reach or eclipse 5 million tons this year partly because of new coal sales contracts with Louisville Gas and Electric Co./Kentucky Utilities Co. and the Tennessee Valley Authority, Carter said.

While he did not elaborate about either new agreement, Carter indicated most of the additional coal is expected to come from Knight Hawk's flagship Prairie Eagle mine in Perry County, Ill. The underground mine produced 3.6 million tons in 2017 and 3.3 million tons in 2016, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the company has added a fifth continuous miner section.

Knight Hawk's major project this year is to construct a 5-mile conveyor belt to transport coal from a new mine portal that opened in September 2017 to the Prairie Eagle prep plant. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2019.

"For all intents and purposes, we'll seal up our old works and have a new mine," he said.

The Carter family controls a majority of the company, with St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. having a 49% ownership stake.

Bob Matyi is a reporter for S&P Global Platts, which, like S&P Global Market Intelligence, is owned by S&P Global Inc.