Foresight Delivers Record Steam Coal Sales in 2018

Foresight Energy capitalized on strong export markets and improved domestic spot opportunities to post record steam coal sales of 23.4 million tons in 2018, generating total revenue of $1.1 billion and adjusted EBITDA of more than $313 million, the Murray Energy subsidiary said on February 27.

This year isn’t looking too shabby either as the St. Louis-based company prepares to reopen its long-idled Deer Run, or Hillsboro, underground steam-coal mine in Montgomery County, Illinois. The mine has not produced coal on a regular basis since March 26, 2015, when it was shut down by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration because of elevated carbon monoxide readings resulting from a combustion event. Robert D. Moore, Foresight president and CEO, said Foresight also enjoyed a good fourth quarter of 2018 by selling more than 6.1 million tons and generating revenue of approximately $299 million, resulting in EBITDA of nearly $87 million.

“These results reflect continued improvement in our year-over-year and sequential quarter-sales volumes, sales realization per ton sold and sales revenue,” he said. “Our fourth-quarter results were the capstone of another successful year for Foresight.” Foresight produced more than 6 million tons of coal in the October- December period, up from approximately 5 million tons a year earlier. Coal production for calendar-year 2018 amounted to 23.3 million tons, versus 21.2 million tons in 2017, for an increase of nearly 10%.

Moore said the production levels underscore the efficiency and productivity of Foresight’s underground mines, “which places our mines among the most efficient and productive underground mines in the country, as measured on a clean-ton-per-underground man-hour work basis.” In 2018, Foresight’s Williamson and Sugar Camp deep mining complexes in southern Illinois ranked as the second and third most-productive mines in the United States, he added, generating 17.4 tons and 16.3 tons per underground man-hour work, respectively. On a combined basis, the Foresight mines produced more than 17 tons per underground man-hour worked during the fourth quarter of last year, and 15.3 tons per underground man-hour worked for the full year.

That compares to the national average for underground mines of 4.7 tons per man-hour worked during the fourth quarter and 4.6 for underground man-hour worked for all of 2018. Foresight’s record sales volumes included exports of 2.7 million tons in the fourth quarter and approximately 9 million tons into the export market for full-year 2018, representing 43% and 38% of the company’s total sales volumes, respectively.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 03 -