SINGAPORE Walter Energy
Inc. has decided to curtail production at its Willow Creek
metallurgical coal mine in British Columbia in April, impacting
about 250 employees.
"The current price environment
for met coal dictated that we curtail production at Willow
Creek in order to ensure we generate a sufficient economic
return in mining the high-quality met coal reserves at the
site," chief executive officer Walter Scheller said in a
"Given the tremendous progress
that has been made in the cost structure at the mine, when we
see signs of sustainable market pricing conditions we would
expect to ramp up production," he added.
Willow Creek is the fifth mine
that the Birmingham, Ala.-based company plans to curtail or
idle as part of cost-cutting initiatives.
Walter Energy recently said it
was accelerating the closure of its North River thermal coal
mine in Alabama. The company also has idled the Aberpergwm Mine
in south Wales and the Gauley Eagle underground and surface
mines in West Virginia, and has curtailed production at its
Maple underground mine in West Virginia.
"While it is never easy to
curtail operations at a facility, our commitment to idle
operations where necessary is central to the companys
operation plan," Scheller said.
Walter Energy currently expects
its 2013 metallurgical coal production to be in line with last
years output of 11.7 million tonnes.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Steel First.