Mining companies, raking in big profits from suddenly sky-high coal prices, are also poised to cash-in on the booming steel industry’s need for coke to fire blast furnaces. “With steel demand and prices as they are, they (steel makers) want maximum coking to run their ovens with our high- quality coke,” Massey Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship told Wall Street analysts on a conference call. “It presents more market opportunities.”
Richmond, Virginia-based Massey produced 42 million tons of coal during 2004, three-quarters of it steam coal, which is primarily sold to utilities to fuel power plants.
But 10 million of those 42 million tons were metallurgical coal and Massey expects the amount to rise to 13 million to 14 million tons in 2005.