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Reed, South celebrate nearly $1.4 billion in recent West Alabama coal investments

Three recently announced investments alone in West Alabama amount to almost $1.4 billion in funds being spent on the area’s coal industry.

Last week, Brookwood-based Warrior Met Coal announced a historic expansion of its operations. A “world-class” longwall mine will be built near the company’s existing mines located on the Blue Creek reserves.

The company expects to invest approximately $550 to $600 million over the next five years to develop this project, with a total estimated investment approaching $700 million when all is said and done.

This came after Alabama’s Shoal Creek seaborne metallurgical coal mine was purchased for $387 million in 2019 by Peabody Energy. Additionally, Murray acquired the Oak Grove met coal mine in Jefferson County last year as well, with that investment totaling approximately $300 million.

Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper), who represents parts of Tuscaloosa, Walker, Jefferson, Fayette and Winston Counties, said in a statement to Yellowhammer News, “Coal production has always been important to our community. I am pleased that the business community continues to see the value of our region as a leader in coal production not just in our state or region but in the whole country.”

Reed extolled the amount of total investment between the projects, adding, “The impact if you include job creation is being felt across the entire region and is a major contributor to Alabama having its strongest economy in history.”

He also pointed to the impact that the historic deepening and widening of the Port of Mobile ship channel will have on the coal industry, as well as the coal industry’s benefit to the Port and its other customers. Funding for the Port project was secured on the federal side by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and through the Rebuild Alabama Act on the state side.

This was also an area of discussion at last week’s Yellowhammer Connection event, which featured Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia).

The coal industry accounts for approximately 50% of the Port’s total annual revenue. “So the impact is being felt from the coast to the Tennessee valley,” Reed noted.

“I would like to thank my colleagues in the House as well as Governor Ivey and her staff for making this kind of high -level development possible,” he concluded.

State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) also hailed the announcement regarding Warrior Met Coal’s Blue Creek expansion, as well as what the trend of positive economic news for the state’s met coal industry means on a broader scale.

“This is great news for all of west Alabama,” South stated. “The high-quality jobs that will be created as a result of this expansion will make a huge impact on our communities. As we continue to see momentum in the coal industry, that means more coal leaving our port, and more coal going up and down our rivers, and we can continue the economic growth we are experiencing in our state.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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