The company has acquired more than 80 mining permits with an estimated $41 billion in reclamation bond costs. So far, American Resources has reclaimed or is working to reclaim 25 thermal mining sites with an associated environmental reclamation bonding liability amount of more than $16.7 million.
American Resource has added a third reclamation to accelerate its environmental efforts, particularly as work has slowed during the pandemic.
"During the COVID-19 outbreak, our first priority was to ensure the safety of our workers; thereafter, we wanted to utilize this time to increase efficiencies at our operations for the long-term and are incredibly proud of the progress made on that front,” CEO Mark Jensen said in a statement.
Historically, the company said, the coal industry has deferred environmental reclamation liabilities for decades. But Jensen believes that the work is necessary and that by focusing on reclamation now, the company can reduce its long-term holding costs.
“We believe producing carbon at a loss is a horrible idea, however it is an unavoidable practice for some producers in our industry because of their significant holding costs,” he added. “Enabled by our low corporate overhead and our dedication to not wasting valuable resources, we have chosen to focus on improving mine plans and advancing environmental reclamation during this market disruption, which we believe will drive significant long-term value for our shareholders as we look to be in position to ramp up production when the market stabilizes."
Over the past few months, American Resources has completed significant reclamation and remediation at its Gold Star mine, a thermal mine located in Indiana that was idled in 2015. The company also finished reclamation and remediation efforts on several sites and permits in eastern Kentucky, including an effort to finalize any remaining outstanding environmental obligations.
The company has also been submitting for bond releases as they come available due to reclamation efforts and post-mine land use changes.
During the pandemic, Jensen said, American Resources received a small business loan, which has helped the company retain its workforce.
"In addition to our expansion of environmental efforts, the funds we received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have also helped us to keep our valued colleagues employed and working,” Jensen said. “These amazing efforts by all of our team members are creating greater efficiencies and reducing our already low corporate overhead.
“It better prepares us and puts us in a greater position to respond to the expected strong bounce in worldwide infrastructure demand in the latter part of this year and in 2021. We are excited about restarting our mining operations and ramping up employment in the region when the market for our carbon rebounds during what we believe to be the second half of this year."
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