By Andrew Follett
April 20, 2017 - A new coal mine is opening up in western Pennsylvania, signaling a small reversal of fortune for the beleaguered coal industry.
The Acosta Deep coal mine will create 70 to 100 direct full-time jobs and another 500 indirect jobs, according to Corsa Coal, the company building the mine. The site is expected to produce 400,000 tons of coal a year, mostly for U.S. and Chinese steel companies.
“The opening of the Acosta Deep Mine marks a return to coal industry job creation in Somerset County, Pennsylvania,” Corsa Coal officials said in a statement. “Metallurgical prices have risen to record levels on the strength of strong steel demand and supply scarcity.”
The Acosta mine is the first of four new coal mines slated to open up this year as coking coal prices continue to soar. The price of coking coal, which is used in steel making, doubled in the last year because of supply disruptions in Australia and Chinese policies to curb some coal-fired energy production.
China also halted coal imports from North Korea and began importing U.S.-mined coal.
Hundreds of coal mines shut down during the Obama administration and thousands of miners lost their jobs under the pressure of stricter federal regulations and decreasing demand for coal.
There were 86,000 coal miners in January 2009, but that number dramatically shrunk to 50,000 just eight years later, according to employment data from the Federal Reserve.
The Acosta mine will begin commercial operations in June. Corsa Coal funded the new mine with private capital and a development grant from the state of Pennsylvania.