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Sources: Oak Grove coal mine remains idle; restart date still unavailable

The Oak Grove coking coal mine in Alabama has been idled and no information on a restart is available, according to market sources and the coal's marketer, Javelin Global Commodities (UK) Ltd.

Mine stockpiles have been used to help fully meet sales commitments for the high coke-strength-after-reaction, mid-vol coal, and no shipments were missed, according to an email from Javelin late Jan. 8.

Javelin said it was unable to comment further on future availability of the premium met coal.

The coal's buyers include several international steel groups, which load the coal at Mobile, Ala., in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Mobile typically receives Panamax vessels and is also used by Warrior Met Coal Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. for coking coal shipments, with vessels often loading multiple coals at the same time.

The underground mine is owned by Murray Metallurgical Coal Holdings, majority owned by Murray Energy Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in October 2019. Javelin holds a minority stake in Murray Met Coal.

Murray Energy said in a message Jan. 9 that it was not commenting on the matter.

Murray Met Coal's Maple Eagle Mid-vol HCC mine was idled last year.

Market sources said they expected the mine's ownership to be undergoing a restructuring with third parties.

The mine has been operating over the past 50 years, with the miner last year planning to increase output toward previous full capacity of over 2 million tons per year and expand output further.

Oak Grove produced 314,238 tons in the third quarter of 2019, down from 419,794 tons in the previous quarter, according to U.S. government data.

S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.