AK Steel to Close Coking Coal Mine After No Buyer Found
By Hector Forster
June 5, 2020 - Pennsylvania-based AK Coal Resources is closing over the next few months after a buyer did not come forward to take over the North Fork coking coal mine.
In a June 4 email, owner Cleveland-Cliffs said shutting the underground mine was part of synergies after Cliffs took over steel producer AK Steel and its subsidiaries.
US coking coal supplies have seen demand drop due to weaker auto steel demand and lower steel prices, which have led higher cost mines to idle since 2019.
AK Coal Resources was a medium-sized US supplier of low-vol coking coal, which historically contributed a significant portion of group met coal needs, supplementing market purchases for AK Steel's met coke production.
North Fork mine produced no coal in Q1, and in 2019 produced around 363,000 st of coal, according to US Mine Safety and Health Administration data.
The mine operator in Somerset County will see 114 employees affected, with a closure between June 30 through September 30 due to no buyer found for the assets, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice filed with Pennsylvania's Department of Labor & Industry.
Cliffs finalized the takeover of AK Steel earlier this year.
The deal closed just before the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the US, which led to reduced demand for flat steel and raw materials.