Peabody completes post-fire mine sealing

Company is preparing to resume operations in new section of mine

Peabody’s Shoal Creek Mine west of Birmingham.

Peabody Coal, which was struck by an underground fire at its Shoal Creek Mine in March, reported this week that the affected areas have been sealed. Also, the company says it is preparing to resume coal production in another section of the mine.

Peabody mines metallurgical coal at the site about 35 miles west of Birmingham and underlying portions of Jefferson, Walker and Tuscaloosa counties. Working at depths of 1,000 to 1,300 feet, the mine produced 800,000 tons of coal in 2022.

The March 29 fire occurred in an area of void fill material, which is used to stabilize the mine’s roof structure. All mine personnel were safely evacuated. The company worked with the  Mine Safety and Health Administration to address the incident and develop a plan to safely resume mining.

The fire occurred in the J panel area. Now the company is preparing to mine in the L panel area where it expects to find better mining conditions.

“Shoal Creek is in a ramp-up period throughout 2023 and expecting delivery of a new longwall kit at the end of the year. As a result, Peabody does not expect the current incident to have a material impact on the company’s 2023 financial results,” the company said in a press release.

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Peabody employs more than 400 people at the Shoal Creek mine.

Alabama exported some $2 billion worth of minerals and ores in 2022. Coal handling facilities are a major component of the Alabama State Port Authority operations at the Port of Mobile.

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