September 9, 2020 - Four regional coal producers have restructured and expanded the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance to now be named the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (MCPA), which will focus on issues specific to the metallurgical coal industry in the United States. The changes are effective immediately and the association will begin its initial advocacy efforts in Virginia and West Virginia.
The realities of a changing coal industry brought on by reduced demand for thermal coal and a subsequent shift of production by the founding members more toward metallurgical coal have prompted the creation of the MCPA. “The coal industry has experienced a tremendous transformation over the past decade,” said David Stetson, Chairman of the board of the MCPA, and Chairman and CEO of Contura Energy, one of the four founding coal-producing members. “Collectively, the four coal producers and our associate members see value in building an association that pools our resources and channels our efforts for a common purpose. We look forward to working within this new framework.”
Harry Childress, who served as President of the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance, will serve in that same role for the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association. Childress will also serve as the lead director for Virginia affairs. “Harry has a long-distinguished reputation of representing the coal industry in Virginia and will continue in that role as we transition,” said Stetson. The firm of Troutman Pepper, based in Richmond, Va., will also continue its service as regulatory counsel and lobbyist for the association in Virginia.
Barbara Altizer, who served as the Executive Director of Education and Outreach of the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance, will serve in the same role in the new organization. Barbara has devoted more than 40 years of her career to advocating for the coal industry and the people it represents through leading roles with the Virginia Coal Council, Eastern Coal Council and other industry related groups. She will continue to lead the efforts in the areas of education and community and industry outreach.
The association also retained the services of Ben Beakes, and his firm Three Point Strategies, to direct West Virginia affairs. Beakes will serve as the chief lobbyist and face of the association in West Virginia. “Ben and his firm have been instrumental in reform efforts for the coal industry in recent years. We are thrilled to bring to the association his experience in advocating and promoting the coal industry,” said Stetson. Beakes formerly served as director of external affairs for Alpha Natural Resources before launching his company where he continued to represent Alpha and then Contura Energy as its lobbyist.
“Traditionally, coal has been understood through its use in generating electricity. We hope to expand the general public’s knowledge and understanding of coal in our everyday lives,” Stetson said. “Metallurgical coal makes progress possible and is critical to our economy. Automobiles, household appliances, bridges, and buildings are a few products requiring steel which is made possible by metallurgical coal. When you think of coal, think of steel, think of progress.”
The future remains bright for metallurgical coal, both domestically and internationally, as the United States and countries across the globe look to increase manufacturing and reinvest in critical infrastructure. “Despite the historical highs and lows in metallurgical market pricing, we believe metallurgical coal will continue to serve as a vital ingredient in the production of steel for many years to come. The operations represented by this group not only provide jobs and economic opportunity in our region, but also produce a valuable product that is being used to build critical infrastructure both domestically and abroad,” said Stetson.
Focusing on metallurgical coal was only one of the reasons for creating the new association. The producing members aim to focus on their regional presence by combining forces to advance their collective interests. “As our membership grows, our regional presence will reflect the expanded enterprise of our participating companies,” Stetson said. “Our producers have a large operational footprint in Central Appalachia and, therefore, this association will promote and seek to expand the opportunities we have here.”
The four coal producers who have led this effort are: Contura Energy, Inc., Coronado Coal LLC, United Coal Company LLC (a subsidiary of Metinvest Group), and RAMACO Resources, Inc. The association is currently in discussions with other metallurgical coal producers that expressed interest in the association. The officers of the newly formed board invite and welcome other metallurgical producers who take interest in this announcement to join the organization.
The officers of the association are as follows:
- David Stetson, Chairman (Chairman and CEO of Contura Energy)
- Bob Cline, Vice Chairman (VP of Coronado Coal LLC)
- J.P. Richardson, Treasurer (VP of United Coal Company LLC)
- B.J. Sturgill, Secretary (SVP, General Counsel and Secretary of RAMACO Resources, Inc.)
- Paul Konstanty, Assistant Secretary (VP and General Counsel of United Coal Company LLC)
More information is also available at the association’s new website: www.metcoalproducers.com.