Warrior Met Coal To Build $50 Million Barge Facility In Walker County, Ala.
Warrior Met Coal, Alabama’s largest producer of metallurgical coal with mines located southwest of Birmingham in Tuscaloosa County, announced in February plans to develop a new longwall mine near its existing mines. Construction began in March. The new mine, projected to come online in the last quarter of 2025, will produce up to 4.3 million short tons per year over its first decade of use, increasing Warrior Met Coal’s annual production by 54 percent.
The mine, located in the company’s Blue Creek reserves, will have a lifespan of about 50 years.
Total investment in the new mine is forecast to be between $550 million and $600 million. The operation will create 371 jobs, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Warrior Met Coal’s non-thermal metallurgical coal is a key component in steel production, with coal exported through the Port of Mobile to steel manufacturers in Europe, South America and Asia. With the new mine, Warrior Met Coal’s annual production will reach about 8 million tons, with much of that to be transported by barge to the Port of Mobile’s McDuffie Coal Terminal for export.
To handle the increased production, Warrior Met Coal has announced plans to build a barge load-out facility in southern Walker County on the Black Warrior River. The river connects to the Port of Mobile via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-maintained Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway. The $50 million barge loading facility will create about a dozen permanent jobs.
“This announcement is huge for Alabama as well as the Alabama State Port Authority and the Warrior-Tombigbee river system,” said Larry Merrihew, president of the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association. “Eight million tons of annual production suggests we will greatly increase the amount of product traveling through the six locks on this river system. Warrior Met said that, when they came to Alabama, they had great plans. We are certainly seeing what they meant with this announcement, which promises so many new, well-paying jobs for Alabamians.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, also praised the recent announcements from Warrior Met Coal.
“Warrior Met Coal’s growth plans will provide a significant injection of economic vitality into Alabama’s coal country, and the high-paying jobs being created by the company will benefit many families and communities in this region,” Canfield said in a statement. “Warrior Met is making bold strategic plans for the future, and we look forward to working with the company as it launches this expansion.”