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Murray Energy buys Andalex coal facilities

Murray Energy Corporation officials announced last week that the firm had purchased all of the common stock of Andalex Resources Inc. and its four subsidiary companies from Andalex Hungary Management Limited.

Several months ago, a press release announced that Andalex Resources planned to sell a number of coal operations and a loadout facility in southeastern Utah.

With the purchase by Murray Energy last week, the sale was completed.

The now former Andalex properties will be owned and operated by Murray Energy's subsidiary, UtahAmerican Energy, Inc.

Murray Energy is the largest independent, family-owned coal producer in the United States. The coal companies operating under Murray Energy Corporation's ownership produced more than 20 million tons of coal in 2000 in five states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Illinois and West Virginia. The firm has been intending on expanding into the Utah market for some time.

Andalex's Tower division has been operating in the Book Cliffs coal field since 1980.

Conventional room and pillar mining techniques with continuous miners were used at the Carbon County operation until 1994 when a longwall mining system was installed.

The room and pillar production techniques continued until 2001, when the mine changed operation to continuous miners with mobile roof support technology.

A longwall mining system was reinstalled in 2004.

Coal mined from the mines has supplied major utilities in both the western United States and Pacific Rim countries under long-term agreements. It has also been sold to many industrial customers in the western United States.

In addition, coal produced by the Tower, Genwal and Westridge divisions has been transported by truck to the Wildcat Loadout. That facility is capable of loading 10,000-ton unit trains at the rate of 6,000 tons per hour.

The Westridge Mine, which is located north of East Carbon in B Canyon, has been half-owned by Andalex in cooperation with Intermountain Power Agency. That mine began producing commercially in 2001.

And while Murray Energy is a large operator in the coal industry, Andalex produced more coal in 2001 than any of Murray's single company units, ranking at 22nd in the nation in production, but that same year American Coal Company, the Ohio Valley Coal Company, Maple Creek Mining, PennAmerican Coal and Energy Resources, Inc., all owned by Murray were in the top 45 producers. With the acquisition of Andalex Murray is expected to move up the list of production.

Since transactions were completed last week, no mention has come from Murray Energy officials about how the sale may affect the local mines or the personnel who work there.

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