NEW YORK Steel
producers have been shifting to low-quality metallurgical coal
to save on raw material costs and boost thinning margins on
finished steel sales, according to Alpha Natural Resources Inc.
chairman and chief executive officer Kevin Crutchfield.
"What I dont
think anyone has had a good handle on is the long-term effects
of the use of lower-rank, lower-quality expansionary blends of
coal on a coke battery," Crutchfield said in an interview with
AMM sister publication Steel First. "There is
undoubtedly some longer-term acceleration or increase of
maintenance costs that arent frequently highlighted. The
same thing is going on in the coal industry as development
capital has been severely rationalized."
The Bristol, Va.-based
company has metallurgical and thermal coal mine operations in
Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Its main
market is integrated domestic steel production, but it is
targeting growth in Asia and South America.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Steel First.