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Coal giants watch prices as shovels idled

Coal giants watch prices as shovels idled

Oct 31, 2013 - The Associated Press

GILLETTE -- Arch Coal executives say coal prices will determine when the company's idled equipment in the Powder River Basin is brought back into production.

Arch President and CEO John W. Eaves says there needs to be sustained improvement in the coal market before the idle equipment is brought back online.

Average sales price for PRB coal declined 30 cents per ton in the third quarter this year from the second quarter.

But Eaves said the company believes better prices could be in the offing next year because of declining coal stockpiles.

Arch's Coal Creek and Black Thunder mines in Campbell County have produced 83.4 million tons of coal so far this year.

Coal production in the Powder River Basin the nation's biggest coal-producing region -- was down last year, and some analysts have predicted another 10 percent drop this year.

Cloud Peak Energy announced this week that it plans to trim output by about 10 million tons.

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