10:43am

Wed June 15, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Alpha CEO Calls Coal’s Future “Bright”

Alpha Natural Resource’s CEO says his company’s acquisition of Massey Energy improves the company’s position in the international market. Kevin Crutchfield said Massey’s vast metallurgical coal reserves were one reason the merger made sense for Alpha. During an interview with West Virginia MetroNews, he said he also expects to be providing coal for electricity to developing nations.

“The prospects we think for coal internationally over the next twenty years, both for the manufacture of steel and the production of electricity are quite bright,” he said. “We think that the demand for coal on a worldwide basis is going to increase between 2 and 2 and a half billion tons annually over the next twenty years.”

Crutchfield thinks his company is in a good position to provide coal to overseas markets, even if the United States moves away from coal-fired electricity.

“Despite our nation’s seeming resistance to continuing to burn coal, there are plenty of places on the globe that do want to power and electrify their nations with coal,” he said. “We think the asset position we have will put us in a nice position to serve those needs over the long term.”

With the merger, Alpha now controls five billion tons of coal reserves. 1.7 billion of that is metallurgical coal, which is in demand for steel production in developing countries.

In the interview Crutchfield also said he wasn’t yet sure what caused the explosion last April at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine. Federal investigators haven’t yet released their conclusions either.