Alpha Natural Resources Inc., the country’s third largest coal producer, pared its 2011 shipment guidance Wednesday. It cited a range of 102.5 million tons to 109.5 million tons, compared with a previous range of 104 million tons to 112 million tons.
The Abingdon-based company cited several factors in the downward trend, including a drop in Asia demand for metallurgical export shipments and lower-than-expected output from some mines, including certain mines in Central Appalachia that Alpha owns as a result of its merger with Massey Energy in June.
The company anticipates that 2011 Eastern metallurgical coal shipments should range from 18.5 million tons to 20.5 million tons, compared to the previous range of 19 million tons to 21 million tons. Shipments of Eastern thermal coal now are expected to range from 36 million tons to 39 million tons, compared with the previous range of 37 million tons to 41 million tons.
Primarily as a result of reduced production and shipment forecasts, Alpha now expects that its adjusted Eastern cost of coal sales per ton for 2011 should range from $73 to $76, excluding the influence of merger-related expenses. Higher adjusted cost of coal sales during the third quarter should be in the range of $77 to $79 per ton, declining as volumes lift in the fourth quarter.
Guidance for the Western cost of coal sales per ton for 2011 remains unchanged.
As part of Alpha’s annual budgeting process, the company plans to refine its 2012 outlook, as appropriate, when it reports third-quarter financial results.
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