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Coal is Back in the Mix in Virginia



September 4, 2022 - The Commonwealth of Virginia is once again working with coal producers to help meet the growing domestic and international demand for metallurgical coal. It’s a welcomed turn-around for the state, which had previously ostracized the fossil fuel industry under former Democrat-controlled administrations.

Thankfully that is no longer the case in the once blue turned red state. In fact, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is pursuing a sensible all-of-the-above energy policy.

“Our priority is to have a comprehensive Virginia energy plan that considers all energy sources, provides transparent and data-driven information for Virginians about costs, and is an all-of-the-above approach,” Youngkin said last month. “We believe energy policy isn’t about things, it’s about people. How energy is generated and delivered to Virginians and Virginia businesses should accommodate the current and future needs of all Virginians.”

The state is now seeking public input on a new energy plan, which Youngkin says will focus on lowering the cost of living, creating jobs, and bringing people to Virginia. He cites seven guiding principles in the development of the new Virginia energy plan. They are affordability, reliability, capacity, competition, environmental stewardship, choice and innovation.

Yes, coal will have a role in the state’s new all-of-the-above energy portfolio.

Youngkin announced last month that Coronado Global Resources Inc., a leading international producer of metallurgical coal, will expand its operations in Buchanan and Tazewell counties creating 181 new jobs for the region.

Youngkin said the company’s commitment of $169.1 million toward the expansion project will increase capacity at its Buchanan Mine complex to meet the growing demand for metallurgical coal, which is an essential element in steel production.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Buchanan County, Tazewell County, and InvestSWVA to secure the project for the state. Youngkin approved a $3,525,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist both counties with the expansion project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

What does all of this mean in the short term? The answer is simple. More coal miners will be needed in the region to meet the urgent demand — both domestically and internationally — for metallurgical coal.

If you are going to build bridges and infrastructure here in America, you must have steel. And that requires metallurgical coal.

The expansion project, as correctly noted by Youngkin last week, is a “win win” for everyone, but Southwest Virginia in particular.