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New Barge Facility to be Built in Alabama



May 3, 2020 - Officials with Warrior Met Coal Inc. and representatives from the Walker County Development Authority announced Friday the development and construction of a new barge load-out facility to be constructed in Walker County that will be used by the mining company to support its metallurgical coal mining operation near Tuscaloosa. 

The project represents a $50 million capital investment in Walker County and will create 12 new high paying jobs.

Warrior Met Coal, headquartered in Brookwood, is the state’s largest producer of metallurgical coal, used as a key component in steel production. The company announced plans in February to construct and develop a new underground mining facility in northern Tuscaloosa County with operations anticipated to begin during the last quarter of 2025. This new mining operation will include a total investment of $578 million and will result in 371 new jobs.

“Warrior Met Coal’s growth plans will provide a significant injection of economic vitality into Alabama’s coal country, and the high-paying jobs being created by the company will benefit many families and communities in this region,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Warrior Met is making bold strategic plans for the future, and we look forward to working with the company as it launches this expansion.”

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said, “Coal production has always been vital to our community. I am pleased that businesses continue to see the value of coal production in west Alabama by expanding the ability to produce coal at the Warrior Met facility. Most importantly, I am glad that the expansion will create important new jobs and increase the economic impact in our region.”

The barge load-out facility, located in the southern portion of Walker County, will be integral to supporting the transport of the coal production. More than 200 current employees of Warrior Met Coal live in Walker County, according to company representatives. Average starting salaries with the new mine jobs are anticipated to be around $85,000 per year. 

“The combined impact of the new mining operation and loading facility will have a huge positive impact on the economy and people of Walker County. We are thrilled to have been able to work with Warrior Met Coal on this exciting project,” said David Knight, director of the Walker County Development Authority.

“For the last century, the coal industry has provided the economic engine of Walker County, and we are pleased that this project is moving forward,” Walker County Commission Chairman Jerry Bishop said. 

Rep. Tim Wadsworth (R-Arley) stated officials working to make the Warrior Met Coal Company project and barge loading area happen should be commended for their efforts. 

“The high paying jobs will be a boost to coal industry in Walker County and House District 14,” he said. “The partnership between Walker County Development Authority and Warrior Met Coal will help the coal industry for years to come.” 

The facility will be built in District 3. Commissioner Ralph Williams added, “This is big news for the people of District 3 as well as the coal industry in our county. We are excited about working with Warrior Met Coal and the creation of new jobs.” 

Warrior Met Coal was founded in 2017 and currently operates two mine sites near Brookwood. The company’s production is exported through the Port of Mobile’s McDuffie Coal Terminal to steel manufacturers in Europe, South America and Asia.