United States

Alabama Operation

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Overview

Mine TypeUnderground
StatusActive
Commodities
  • Coal (metallurgical)
Mining Method
  • Continuous
  • Longwall
Shaft Depth 640 m
Production Start1974
Mine Life2045
SnapshotThe Mines No. 4 and No. 7 are two of the deepest underground coal mines in North America and produce the steelmaking coal. The Blue Creek Project will be a sister operation to Mine No. 7 and Mine No. 4.

The Mine No. 4 steelmaking coal transitioned in the second half of 2023 year from a Mid Vol to a High Vol A quality coal that typically trades at a larger discount to the price of coal from Mine No. 7.

On May 3, 2022, Warrior Met announced the relaunch of the development of Blue Creek into a new, world-class longwall mine located in Alabama near existing mines (Mine No. 4, Mine No. 7). The Blue Creek project includes surface facilities to be constructed at multiple locations in close proximity. Continuous Miner unit production expected to start in Q3 2024; Longwall expected to start in Q2 2026.
Related AssetsBlue Creek Project, No. 4 Mine, No. 7 Mine

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Warrior Met Coal Inc. 100 % Indirect
Warrior Met Coal Mining, LLC (operator) 100 % Direct
All of mining operations are conducted on Alabama properties 100% owned or leased by Warrior Met Coal, Inc.

Contractors

ContractorContractDescriptionRef. DateSource
Alabama Power Company Power supply All of operations (Mine No.4, Mine No.7) receive power provided by Alabama Power Company. Dec 31, 2023

Deposit type

  • Sedimentary

Summary:

Sediments of the Upper Pottsville Mary Lee coal zone are Lower Pennsylvanian in age and comprised of cyclic sequences that include sandstone, siltstone, shale, and coal. Located within the middle of the Black Warrior Basin stratigraphic sequence, the Mary Lee and Blue Creek horizon is situated below drainage throughout the Property and is accessed by shafts.

Mineralization
No. 4
Regional coal rank in the BWB generally ranges from a low-volatile coal in the southeastern portion of the basin to a high-volatile coal to the northwest. Due to the value of the Mary Lee and Blue Creek seams in the metallureical coking coal market at the Mine No. 4 operation (and adjoining mines) to the south and east of the Property, the subject coal seams have been extensively mined in the region. Laboratory data for the Property an a dry, clean coal basis indicates an average volatile matter (VM) content of approximately 31% in the northwestern area; whereas, the eastern portion of the Property has a VM content of approximately 27%.

Results of regional trends indicate that coals ranging from Low volatile to High volatile Bituminous coal rank are found in the region, according to ASTM criteria:
> Low Volatile Bituminous, or LVASTIM (VM greater than or equal to 14% and less than 22% on a dry- mineral-matter-free basis, or DMMF);
> Medium Volatile Bituminous, or MVASTM (VM greater than or equal to 22% and less than 31% on a dry-mineral-matter-free basis, or DMMF);
> High Volatile A Bituminous, or HVAASIM (VM greater than 31% on a dry-mineral-matter-free basis, or DMMF, and calorific content greater than or equal to 14,000 Btu/lb. on a moist-mineral-matter- free basis);
> High Volatile B Bituminous, or HVBASTM (greater than or equal to 13,000 and less than 14,000 Btu/lb.)

The mineable seam configuration of Mine No. 4 consists of the Mary Lee, Middleman, and Blue Creek seams, also referred to as "twin seam" mining, with the following thickness ranges:
> The Mary Lee averages approximately 1.3-feet throughout the mine plan area;
> Between the two seams, the "Middleman" parting averages around 1.6-feet; the parting generally thickens to the southeast.
> The Blue Creek seam, which typically represents the better metallurgical quality than the overlying Mary Lee seam, typically averages around 3.5-feet;
> The combined thickness of the Mary Lee through Blue Creek interval ranges from 5.0 to 10.0 feet, averaging approximately 6-feet.

The principal parameters examined in the ASTM method for the determination of rank include (but are not limited to) the following: Fixed Carbon (FC), Volatile Matter (VM), Ash, Sulfur, and Calorific content (typically in Btu/Ib.), as well as Moisture content.

No. 7
Regional coal rank in the BWE generally ranges from a low-volatile coal in the southeastern portion of the basin to a high-volatile coal to the northwest. Due to the value of the Mary Lee and Blue Creek seams in the metallurgical coking coal market at the Mine No. 7 operation (and adjoining mines) to the south and east of the Property, the subject coal seams have been extensively mined in the region.

Laboratory data for the Property on a dry, clean coal (1.50 — 1.55 float) basis indicates a typically low-to medium-volatile bituminous coal product.

Results of regional trends indicate that coals ranging from Low volatile to High volatile Bituminous coal rank are found in the region, according to ASTM criteria:
> Low Volatile Bituminous, (VM greater than or equal to 14% and less than 22% on a dry-mineral-matter-free basis, or DMMF);
> Medium Volatile Bituminous, (VM greater than or equal to 22% and less than 31% on a dry-mineral-matter-free basis, or DMMF);
> High Volatile A Bituminous, (VM greater than 31% on a dry-mineral-matter-free basis, or DMMF, and calorific content greater than or equal to 14,000 Btu/Ib. on a moist-mineral-matter-free basis)
> High Volatile B Bituminous, (greater than or equal to 13,000 on less than 14,000 Btu/Ib.)

The mineable seam configuration of Mine No. 7 consists of the Mary Lee, Middleman, and Blue Creek seams, also referred to as “twin seam” mining, with the follow thickness ranges:
> The Mary Lee typically averages 1.5 feet throughout the mine plan area;
> Between the two seams, the “Middleman” parting averages approximately 2.5 feet within areas where the Mary Lee and Blue Creek seams are projected to be longwall mined together; the parting generally thickens to the south;
> The Blue Creek seam, which typically represents the better metallurgical quality than the overlying Mary Lee seam, averages approximately 3.5 feet in thickness within the current resource areas.

Blue Creek Project
Regional coal rank in the Black Warrior Basin (BWB) generally ranges from a low-volatile coal in the southeastern portion of the basin to a high-volatile coal to the northwest. Due to the value of the Mary Lee and Blue Creek seams in the low- to medium-volatile coking coal market at its active Mine No. 4 and Mine No. 7 operations (and adjoining mines) to the south and east of the Property, the subject coal seams have been extensively mined in the region. Laboratory data for the Blue Creek Project indicates a typically high volatile (greater than 31% volatile matter) bituminous coal product. Based on analysis of coal samples, the Mary Lee and Blue Creek seams on the Property are considered a high-volatile metallurgical-grade coal product.

Reserves at December 31, 2023

The Proven and Probable coal reserves are reported as recoverable coal reserves.
CategoryTonnage CommodityMarketable Coal
Proven Mt Coal (metallurgical) 113.4 Mt
Probable Mt Coal (metallurgical) 37.1 Mt
Proven & Probable Mt Coal (metallurgical) 150.5 Mt
Indicated 39.7 Mt Coal (metallurgical)

Mining Methods

  • Continuous
  • Longwall

Summary:

Mine No. 4, along with Mine No. 7, are currently Warrior Met`s only longwall operations. The longwall shearing machine is used for extraction of coal an the production face. A chain conveyor is used to remove coal from the longwall face for discharge onto the conveyor belt which then ultimately delivers it to the skip systems. Development or the longwall is conducted by the extraction of coal from the production faces using continuous miners an haulage using shuttle cars to a feeder-breaker located as the tail of the section conveyor belt. The feeder-breaker crushes large pieces of coal and rock and regulates coal feed onto the mine conveyor. Roof-bolting machines are used to support the roof on a development sections of the longwall mine. Roof-bolting machines are used to install roof bolts, and battery scoops are available to clean a mine entries and assist in delivery of mine supplies to work areas. Other supplemental equipment such as personnel carriers, supply vehicles, etc., are also used daily.

Run-of-mine coal is transported to the surface via a skip system which transports coal to the surface vertically. Adjacent to the skip shaft is a service shaft for the transportation of workers, supplies and equipment to the coal mine. Warrior Met is nearing the completion of a new portal site, closer to active faces and future mining reserve areas, which is currently being utilized in a partial capacity prior to serving longwall needs. Bleeder shafts are installed at each longwall district.

Operating at approximately 2,000 feet below the surface, the Mines No. 4 and No. 7 are two of the deepest underground coal mines in North America. The met coal is mined using longwall extraction technology with development support from continuous miners.

Mine conveyors typically range in width up to 6 feet. Multiple belt flights are arranged in series to deliver raw coalto the underground storage. Along the main and sub-main entries and panels, a travelway is providedfor personnel and materialsby rubber-tired equipmentor on rail. a skip system is used to transport BOM coal from the underground storage bunker to the surface where the coal may be sampled, crushed and washed in the preparation plant and stockpiled to await shipment.

MINE No. 4 - underground operation with single longwall system.
Mine No. 4 is a single longwall operation which is supported by continuous mining units. The mine plan and productivity expectations reflect historical performance and efforts have been made to adjust the plan to reflect future conditions. MM&A is confident that the mine plan is reasonably representative to provide an accurate estimation of coal reserves.

Description:
- Seam - Blue Creek/Mary Lee;
- Seam height - 45 inches;
- Cutting height - 85 inches;
- Panel width - 1,115 ft;
- Panel length - 4,000-13,000 ft;
- Over-burden - 1,600 ft;
- No. of gate entries - 4;
- Depth of cut - 36 inches;
- Shearer - Joy 7LS-1D;
- Haulage system - Ultratrac 2000;
- Roof support yield (tons) - Joy 1,300;
- Face conveyor type (strand, motors) - JWR with CSTs, 42-mm chain, twin strand inboard, three 1,200-hp motors;
- Face conveyor width/speed - 1,000 mm/305 fpm;
- Stageloader type, width, speed - JWR, 1,300 mm, 420 fpm;
- Crusher - JWR.

MINE No. 7 - underground operation with two longwall systems.
The mining plan at the No. 7 Mine incorporates continuous and longwall underground mining methods similar to the No. 4 Mine, however there is a change in the mineable seam horizon. The Blue Creek seam and the Mary Lee seam are further apart as the middleman thickness increases to several feet in the No. 7 Mine area. The Blue Creek seam is the primary focus of the longwall mining operation. The Mary Lee seam which lies several feet above the Blue Creek is not mined unless it facilitates roof support for long term stability as in the Main developments which must remain stable for the life of all the longwall panels in a reserve area. The Blue Creek seam is being mined at a depth ranging from approximately 1,500 to 2,000 feet. The Blue Creek seam is suitable for metallurgical purposes and as a compliance steam coal.

Description:
- Seam - Blue Creek/Mary Lee;
- Seam height - 53 inches;
- Cutting height - 69 inches and 80 inches;
- Panels width - 1,060 ft and 1,040 ft;
- Panels length - 7,000-8,000 ft and 4,000-13,000 ft;
- Over-burden - 1,600 ft;
- No. of gate entries - 4 and 4;
- Depth of cut - 36 inches;
- Shearers - Joy 7LS-1D;
- Haulage systems - Ultratrac 2000;
- Roof support yield (tons) - Joy 1,150 and Joy 1,150;
- Face conveyors width/speed - 1,000 mm/305 fpm;
- Stageloaders type, width, speed - JWR, 1,300 mm, 420 fpm;
- Crushers - JWR.

The latest expansion came with the 2018 completion of a new portal facility on the company’s No. 7 mine. North portal facility at Mine No. 7 provides a new gateway for 200 Warrior Met Coal miners to enter the northern sections of the mine. Designed for growth, it will accommodate up to 500 underground employees.

The hoist system is double the capacity of the hoist currently in use at No. 7 West Mine. The new 7 North hoist features a 40-ton capacity, utilizing the latest technology and operates at a speed of 900 feet per minute to traverse the 1,451-foot-deep shaft. The hoist will accommodate 70 people.

Blue Creek
Production Rates
Plans summarized in this TRS include a single longwall operation which is supported by continuous mining units. Warrior Met is considering an alternative plan which would include two longwall mining units.

Mining-Related Requirements
Although the continuous miner sections are significantly more expensive to operate on a cost-per- tonne basis, they are necessary to open up areas of the mine by developing main entries and gate roads in preparation for the longwall. The LOM plan included in this TRS requires three continuous mining support sections for the majority of the duration of the operation.

Comminution

Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.

Processing

  • Spiral concentrator / separator
  • Crush & Screen plant
  • CHPP
  • Wash plant
  • Vacuum filtration
  • Flotation
  • Dense media separation
  • Magnetic separation
  • Dewatering

Summary:

Mine No. 4 Plant
Warrior Met currently operates a coal preparation plant at the Property. The Mine No. 4 Plant operates at a feed rate of approximately 1,180 raw tonnes per hour {tph). Coarse material is washed in a heavy media vessel, the intermediate-size material is washed in heavy media cyclones. Fine material is washed using reflux classifiers, and ultrafine material is cleaned by froth flotation. These processes are supported by the requisite screens, centrifuges, vacuum filters, sumps, pumps, and distribution systems. Processes and equipment are typical of those used in the coal industry and are in use in nearly all plants in the Black Warrior Basin. Warrior's No. 4 Plant includes an ultrafine coal cleaning technology, namely that developed by Somerset, for additional recovery of coal fines.

Mine No. 4 preparation plant has also routinely been upgraded with the latest technology. This preparation plant runs the most modern circuits, including an ultrafine coal recovery system. The preparation plant has had numerous upgrades since its original construction, which has helped it to continue to capture a higher percentage of coal with each upgrade. Mine No. 4 preparation plant most recently completed a new fine coal recovery system in 2020, to further improve overall plant recovery.

Underground mine production is hoisted to the surface and immediately sized to a minus 2-inch product through a run-of-mine crushing and screening section consisting of a 60-inch reciprocating feeder, an 8-foot x 22-foot double deck incline screen, and a 12-foot x 24-foot rotary breaker. Oversize material from the screen is fed to the rotary breaker where large rock is removed and sent to the refuse dump. All material smaller than 2 inches is carried by conveyor belt to the raw coal stacking tube and raw coal storage pile.

Raw coal is drawn from the raw coal storage pile using four (4) 48-inch reciprocating feeders. The raw coal is carried by conveyor at 1,300 raw tons per hour to the preparation plant. Raw coal is distributed to two (2) 6-foot x 16-foot and three (3) 8-foot x 16-foot incline screens where the material is sized at 3/8 inch. All material larger than 3/8 inch is sent to four (4) 9-foot low flow heavy media vessels. Clean coal from the vessels reports to four (4) 8-foot x 16-foot horizontal drain and rinse screens. Refuse from the vessels reports to three (3) 8-foot x 16-foot horizontal drain and rinse screens.

Raw coal, smaller than 3/8 inch, is sized at 0.75 mm on two (2) 8-foot x 20-foot banana screens. The raw coal size fraction 3/8 inch x 0.75 mm is processed in one (1) 40-inch heavy media (HM) cyclone. The clean coal from the HM cyclone reports to four (4) 8-foot x 16-foot horizontal drain and rinse screens and is then dewatered. The refuse from the HM cyclone reports to two (2) 8-foot x 16-foot horizontal drain and rinse screens. Raw coal, smaller than 0.75 mm, is sent to twelve (12) 14-inch raw coal classifying cyclones making a size separation at 100 mesh.

Raw coal size fraction 0.75 mm x 100 mesh is processed through forty (40) triple start two stage spirals. Middlings from the spirals are reprocessed in a teeter bed separator (hindered settling classifier). Clean coal from the spirals and teeter bed are dewatered with four (4) 44 inch x 132-inch screen bowl centrifuges. Refuse from this circuit is dewatered with one (1) 6 foot x 12-foot high frequency reverse incline screen.

Raw coal, smaller than 100 mesh, is processed by five (5) banks of conventional froth flotation cells. Clean coal from the flotation and fine coal circuits is also dewatered in the screen bowl centrifuges. Refuse from this circuit reports to the static thickener (140 feet).

Coarse coal (3/8 inch x 0.75 mm) is dewatered using two (2) horizontal vibrating centrifuges. Fine coal (0.75mm x 0) is dewatered by four (4) 44-inch x 132-inch screen bowl centrifuges. Magnetite is recovered and re-used in the process using three (3) 48-inch x 110-inch and five (5) 36-inch x 110-inch single drum magnetic separator.

The No. 7 Mine Preparation Plants
There are two preparation plants associated with the No. 7 Mine production. The No. 7 Mine Preparation Plant has the capacity to process 1,400 raw tons per hour (1,260 raw tonnes per hour). The second plant is located at the No. 5 Mine portal site and coal is transported to that location via an overland conveyor belt installed specifically to access the No. 5 Preparation Plant. The No. 5 Plant has the capacity to process 1,000 raw tons per hour (900 raw tonnes per hour). Both plants are capable of cleaning with cyclones, spirals/reflux classifiers, and flotation circuits. Each plant location has its own unit train loadout and individual track loops.

In 2022, the operation produced an average product with the following quality characteristics (dry basis): Ash, 10.29%; Sulfur, 0.66%, Volatile Matter, 20.82%. Typical moisture contents for Warrior Met's shipments are in the 10-percent range.

The Warrior Met-owned Mine No. 7 Preparation Plant receives coal from the mine via a skip hoist system which transports extracted coal from an underground bunker to the surface facility. The No. 5 preparation plant is also used to process coal which is transported from the No. 7 plant via an overland conveyor. Rail and barges serve as the primary means of transportation from the plants.

Underground mine production hoisted to the surface is processed through two (2) separate run-of-mine crushing and sizing facilities consisting of a 60-inch reciprocating feeder, an 8-foot x 20-foot double deck incline screen, and a 10-foot x 24-foot rotary breaker. Oversize material from the screen is fed to the rotary breaker where large rock is removed and sent to the refuse dump. All material smaller than 2 inches is carried by conveyor belt to the raw coal stacking tube and raw coal storage pile at the No. 7 Preparation Plant, or directed to the overland belt for transportation to the No. 5 Preparation Plant.

The No. 7 Mine Preparation Plant has the capacity to process 1,400 raw tons per hour. The second plant is located at the No. 5 Mine portal site and coal is transported to that location via a 5.5 mile overland conveyor belt installed specifically to access the No. 5 Preparation Plant. The No. 5 Plant has a capacity to process 1,000 raw tons per hour. Both plants are capable of deep cleaning with cyclones, spirals, and flotation circuits. Each plant location has its own unit train loadout and individual track loops to facilitate loading 2,400 tons per hour.

Mine No. 7 and Mine No. 5 preparation plants also are routinely upgraded with the latest technology. These preparation plants run the most modern circuits, including ultrafine coal recovery systems. Both preparation plants have had numerous upgrades since their construction, which has helped them to continue to capture a higher percentage of coal with each upgrade. Mine No. 7 most recently completed a new fine coal recovery system, with another system also currently under construction, at the same plant, to further improve overall plant recovery.

Blue Creek Plant Project
Run-of-mine coal will be processed in a new preparation plant with a capacity of 1,800 raw-tons-perhour (1,633 raw tonnes-per-hour).

Following the initial sizing of the material, the coarse coal (2-inch by 1-mm) is to be cleaned using a dense media cyclone (DMC) with the overflow from DMC being dried via clean coal centrifuges.

The cleaned coal from the flotation and spiral units will be combined and dewatered using a screen bowl centrifuge (SBC).

Water Supply

Summary:

Warrior Met continuously work to evaluate and test emerging technologies that can optimize our water usage. Freshwater is primarily used for processing coal or sent underground for use in mining operations. This optimizes the performance of mining machinery and helps create a safer environment for workforce. In 2023, plan to implement a system to optimize and monitor water usage and recycling. In addition to improving how track and measure water consumption, Company will strategically draw water from local rivers and springs to store in reservoirs which can be utilized during periods of low flow to prevent possible stress to the local hydrologic balance. These actions, which are foundational to a three-phased water efficiency and optimization plan developed in 2022, provide an actionable pathway to meet and surpass goal of reducing water usage by 25% by 2030.

Blue Creek project
The Project's water system is designed to deliver water to multiple end-use locations across the mine complex and maintain storage capacity in the freshwater impoundment. A freshwater pump in a proximal waterway will provide the majority of water for the operation, including firefighting water, plant make-up water and water for mining needs.

Potable water will be needed at several surface locations such as the bathhouse, plant, and mine office. Additionally, potable water is required for emulsion hydraulic system for longwall equipment, preventing algae buildup in the hydraulic system. Public water is available locally through Oakman Water Works, Inc. (Oakman).

Public sewers are not available in the area, requiring the construction of a sewage treatment facility to handle the raw sewage prior to discharge. Multiple systems may be required to service the preparation plant and the deep mine. Permitting actions through the Health Department and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) may be required.

Production

CommodityUnits202320222021202020192018201720162015
Coal (metallurgical) kt 6,9365,7295,0857,1327,6847,0176,0913,0954,946
All production numbers are expressed as clean coal.

Operational metrics

Metrics20232021201820172016
Annual production capacity 7.3 Mt of clean coal7 Mt of clean coal7.3 Mt of clean coal7.3 Mt of clean coal7 Mt of clean coal

Production Costs

CommodityUnits2023202220212020201920182017
Cash costs (sold) Coal (metallurgical) USD 132.6 / t   138.35 / t   96.4 / t   92.3 / t   99.2 / t   103.35 / t   99.9 / t  

Financials

Units20242023202220212020201920182017
Capital expenditures (planned) M USD 105  
Sustaining costs M USD 45.2  53   89   69   62  
Capital expenditures M USD 71.4  78   107   102   93  
Revenue M USD 1,648  1,708  1,028  761.9   1,236   1,343   1,125  
Operating Income M USD 541.4  801.4  243.8  -27.1   383.4   508.3   423.4  
Pre-tax Income M USD 551.4  783.1  200  -55.9   367.1   471   416.5  
After-tax Income M USD 478.6  641.3  150.9  -35.8   301.7   696.8   455  
EBITDA M USD 698.9  994.2  457  108.3   478.7   601   517.7  
Operating Cash Flow M USD 701.1  841.9  351.5  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Ref. Date: December 18, 2023

SourceSource
HME TypeModelQuantity
Shearer Komatsu 7LS-1D 3

Personnel

Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
Buyer Heather Eagle LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Deputy Mine Manager Ricky Rose LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Deputy Mine Manager Phillip Mcgilton LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Engineering Manager Tyler Hall LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Engineering Project Manager Glenn Smith LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
General Manager Craig Dickerson LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Maintenance Manager Herman Preston LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Maintenance Manager John Denny LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Maintenance Manager Todd O'Brien LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024
Mining Manager Pete Richardson LinkedIn Mar 22, 2024

EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
921 2023
442 412 854 2022
662 2021
1,248 2020
1,261 2019
1,238 2018
1,141 2017
682 2016
1,368 2015

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