As the price of oil continues its upward spiral, industry giant Alcoa Aluminum is taking aggressive steps to get a grip on energy costs by getting into the energy business. They’re buying coal mines – let’s face it, Alcoa didn’t get where it’s at by thinking small.
One of the mines, Friendsville Mine in Mount Carmel, Illinois, is close to Alcoa’s Warrick Operation in Newburgh, Indiana. It will provide more than one million tons of coal per year to a facility with more than its share of blast furnaces.
Buying a mine is one thing, running it is another. That’s why Alcoa turned to contract mining specialist, Vigo Coal Company. No doubt its discriminating taste in mining equipment played a prominent role in its getting the nod for this demanding job. A large fleet of Hitachi machine validates that fact.
Established more than 25 years ago, Vigo Coal Company prides itself on providing its customers with responsive, effective mining solutions that are both economically and environmentally sound. According to Vice President John Harman, the company is very familiar with the Friendsville Mine property.
“We own several mining reserves ourselves and actually purchased the Friendsville reserve in 1998. It offers coal seams unique to Wabash County that had never been commercially mined. After one customer dropped out of a potential sale, we began a dialogue with Alcoa, with whom we already had a relationship. They had a real interest in our coal as a fuel source for their Warrick plant.”
Harman says Vigo assured Alcoa it had a viable product with a fairly constant 14:1 stripping ratio. That fact, and a solid ten years of coal already permitted and ready for mining, convinced Alcoa.