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Pennsylvania coal mines forced to shut due to COVID-19 risk, natural gas unaffected

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

The US state of Pennsylvania has forced all metallurgical and thermal coal mines, as well as major industries, to close operations effective Thursday 8 pm ET (0000 GMT Friday) until further notice to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses in the state related to oil and natural gas extraction and primary steel and metal production can remain open, according to a notice from the governor’s office.

Chevron, Rice Energy, CNX Resources and others operate gas wells in the Marcellus Shale, which stretches across Pennsylvania..

All coal mining, metal ore mining and nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying in the state will be shut down.

Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday ordered all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania to close, with enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations to begin at12:01 am ET Saturday.

Pennsylvania mines extract a range of low-vol, mid-vol and high-vol coking coals, and crossover grades such as Bailey coal, with exports across the Atlantic and to Asian markets.

Major companies operating coal mines include Consol Energy, Rosebud Mining and Corsa Coal.

Coking coal miner Corsa said its Acosta, Horning, Schrock Run and Schrock Run Extension mines, all coal preparation plants, as well as its corporate office, are in Pennsylvania and affected by the order.

Corsa’s Casselman mine is in the state of Maryland and not subject to the order.

“Corsa expects to cease operations at such mines and its preparation plants while such operations remain subject to the order,” the company said in a statement Friday.

Corsa is exploring options to allow for continued coal operations at Casselman while the company’s preparation plants, which process the coal, are closed.

Several anthracite coal miners operate from resources around Somerset County, Pennsylvania, which provide the only source of the high grade metallurgical coal in the US to steel and other industries.

Primary iron and steel and ferroalloy manufacturing, steel product manufacturing from purchased steel and alumina and aluminum production and processing in Pennsylvania can continue, the order said.

However, fabricated metal product manufacturing has been forced to stop, while some machine manufacturing has been affected too.

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/podcasts/focus/031720-us-lng-pessimism-coronavirus-market-woes
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