“We were able to deliver an extremely strong quarter, both in terms of financial results and better-than-expected production, despite experiencing continued shipment delays as a result of rail transportation and port maintenance and congestion issues,” commented Walt Scheller, CEO of Warrior. “We also delivered this performance in the face of additional macroeconomic headwinds, including the impact of the sanctions relating to the war in Ukraine and negative economic trends in the U.S. and China. The benefits of our efficient operating model and our high quality assets are notable, and we believe that they will continue to drive value for shareholders.”
“Looking ahead, with significant coal inventories and record total liquidity, we believe that Warrior is well-positioned to make value-enhancing investments while delivering strong financial results. We were pleased to see gradual improvements in the shipping delays during the final few weeks of the quarter, a trend which we expect to continue in the fourth quarter. We are also continuing to see strong demand from customers while global met coal supply also continues to be constrained,” Mr. Scheller concluded.
Sales volume in the third quarter of 2022 was 1.5 million short tons compared to 1.1 million short tons in the third quarter of 2021, despite the impact of shipment delays. The Company produced 1.6 million short tons of met coal in the third quarter of 2022 compared to 1.1 million short tons in the third quarter of 2021. The tons of met coal produced in the third quarter of 2022 were the result of running two longwalls and five continuous miner units at Mine No. 7 and one longwall and three continuous miner units at Mine No. 4. Inventory levels rose to 858 thousand short tons at the end of September 30, 2022 from 735 thousand short tons at the end of June 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to the continued shipment delays we have experienced this year attributed to the lack of available rail transportation, port maintenance and port congestion.
Additional Financial Results
Total revenues were $390.2 million for the third quarter of 2022, including $371.9 million in mining revenues, which consisted of met coal sales of 1.5 million short tons at an average net selling price of $248.13 per short ton, net of demurrage and other charges. This compares to total revenues of $202.5 million in the third quarter of 2021. The average net selling price of the Company's met coal increased 32% from $188.62 per short ton in the third quarter of 2021 to $248.13 per short ton in the third quarter of 2022. The quarter-over-quarter increase in revenues was primarily attributed to improved met coal pricing and higher sales volume partially offset by higher demurrage and other charges due to the shipment delays.
Cost of sales for the third quarter of 2022 were $203.4 million compared to $92.0 million for the third quarter of 2021. Cash cost of sales (including mining, transportation and royalty costs) for the third quarter of 2022 were $202.0 million, or 54.3% of mining revenues, compared to $91.0 million, or 45.6% of mining revenues in the same period of 2021. Cash cost of sales (free-on-board port) per short ton increased to $134.78 in the third quarter of 2022 from $85.92 in the third quarter of 2021, reflecting a 32% increase in average net selling prices and its effect on Warrior's variable cost structure, primarily for wages, transportation and royalties, plus the impact of inflation. Transportation and royalty costs accounted for approximately 47% of total cash cost of sales (free-on-board port) in the third quarter of 2022 compared to 39% in the same period last year due to the higher met coal average net selling prices and its effect on our transportation and royalty costs. Given our transportation rates are reset at the beginning of each quarter based on met coal prices in the previous quarter, we expect transportation costs to be lower in the fourth quarter of 2022 than the third quarter of 2022 due to lower met coal prices in the third quarter of 2022. Inflation accounted for an approximately $4 per short ton impact during the third quarter of 2022 due to increases in the costs of diesel fuel, belt structure, roof bolts, cable, magnetite, rock dust and other supplies, plus labor and parts on repair and rebuilds.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the third quarter of 2022 were $10.6 million, or 2.7% of total revenues and were higher than the same period last year due to higher employee related costs, primarily related to stock compensation expense, and higher professional fees.
Depreciation and depletion expenses for the third quarter of 2022 were $30.8 million, or 7.9% of total revenues and were higher than the prior year comparable quarter due to higher sales volume. Warrior incurred net interest expense of $5.7 million during the third quarter of 2022, which was lower than the same quarter last year primarily due to a decrease in interest on our outstanding notes combined with an increase in interest income.
Business interruption expenses were $7.1 million and represent non-recurring expenses for incremental safety and security, labor negotiations and other expenses that are directly attributable to the ongoing labor strike. Idle mine expenses were $5.4 million and represent expenses incurred with reduced operations at Mine No. 7 and Mine 4, such as electricity, insurance and maintenance labor.
Income tax expense was $20.3 million in the third quarter of 2022, which was higher than last year primarily as a result of the higher income before income taxes this quarter, which totaled $118.7 million. This expense reflects the utilization of net operating losses which resulted in no cash taxes paid during the third quarter of 2022.
Cash Flow and Liquidity
The Company generated cash flows of $247.2 million from operating activities in the third quarter of 2022, compared to $62.9 million in the third quarter of 2021. Capital expenditures and mine development for the third quarter of 2022 were $55.9 million. Free cash flow was $191.3 million in the third quarter of 2022, compared to $52.4 million in the third quarter of 2021. The increase primarily reflects higher realized prices combined with higher sales volume.
Net working capital, excluding cash, for the third quarter of 2022 decreased by $95.1 million from the second quarter of 2022, primarily reflecting a decrease in trade accounts receivables due to lower prices and the timing of sales, combined with an increase in inventories due to strong production and continued shipment delays.
Cash flows used in financing activities for the third quarter of 2022 were $90.5 million, primarily due to the payment of the regular quarterly dividend and special dividend totaling $44.4 million, retirements of debt of $37.8 million and principal repayments of financing lease obligations of $8.3 million.
The Company’s total liquidity as of September 30, 2022 was $869.0 million, a record high, consisting of cash and cash equivalents of $745.7 million and available liquidity under its existing Second Amended and Restated Asset-Based Revolving Credit Agreement (as amended, the “ABL Facility”) of $123.3 million, which is net of outstanding letters of credit of $8.7 million.
On October 24, 2022, our Board of Directors (the "Board") declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per share, totaling approximately $3.1 million, which will be paid on November 11, 2022, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on November 4, 2022.
Any future special dividends or stock repurchases from excess cash flows will be at the discretion of the Board and subject to consideration of several factors including business and market conditions, future financial performance and other strategic investment opportunities. The Company will also seek to optimize its capital structure to improve returns to stockholders while allowing flexibility for the Company to pursue very selective strategic growth opportunities that can provide compelling stockholder returns.
Warrior updated its guidance for the full year 2022 as indicated below, which we expect to be further impacted in the fourth quarter by the continued shipment delays and other factors noted below.
Key factors that may affect outlook include:
The Company's guidance for its capital expenditures consists of sustaining capital spending of approximately $75 - $80 million, including regulatory and gas requirements, and discretionary capital spending of $110 - $120 million for the 4 North portal construction, deposits on two new sets of longwall shields and the development of the Blue Creek project for which the Company has budgeted $45 million for 2022.
The Company does not provide reconciliations of its outlook for cash cost of sales (free-on-board port) to cost of sales in reliance on the unreasonable efforts exception provided for under Item 10(e)(1)(i)(B) of Regulation S-K. The Company is unable, without unreasonable efforts, to forecast certain items required to develop the meaningful comparable Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP") cost of sales. These items typically include non-cash asset retirement obligation accretion expenses, mine idling expenses and other non-recurring indirect mining expenses that are difficult to predict in advance in order to include in a GAAP estimate.