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Walter Energy slashes Willow Creek coal output

Keywords: Tags  Walter Energy, metallurgical coal, Willow Creek, Walter Scheller, Daisy Tseng

SINGAPORE — Walter Energy Inc. has decided to curtail production at its Willow Creek metallurgical coal mine in British Columbia in April, impacting about 250 employees.

"The current price environment for met coal dictated that we curtail production at Willow Creek in order to ensure we generate a sufficient economic return in mining the high-quality met coal reserves at the site," chief executive officer Walter Scheller said in a statement.

"Given the tremendous progress that has been made in the cost structure at the mine, when we see signs of sustainable market pricing conditions we would expect to ramp up production," he added.

Willow Creek is the fifth mine that the Birmingham, Ala.-based company plans to curtail or idle as part of cost-cutting initiatives.

Walter Energy recently said it was accelerating the closure of its North River thermal coal mine in Alabama. The company also has idled the Aberpergwm Mine in south Wales and the Gauley Eagle underground and surface mines in West Virginia, and has curtailed production at its Maple underground mine in West Virginia.

"While it is never easy to curtail operations at a facility, our commitment to idle operations where necessary is central to the company’s operation plan," Scheller said.

Walter Energy currently expects its 2013 metallurgical coal production to be in line with last year’s output of 11.7 million tonnes.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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