US coal miner Cloud Peak Energy said it can raise output to 100 million tonnes by 2013 provided prices and demand remain strong.
Cloud Peak Energy CEO Colin Marshall told Mining Weekly the company expects to sell and generate almost 91 million tonnes of coal this year through its three Power River Basin mines.
"The company could add about eight million tonnes of additional capacity by 2013 with minimal capital expenditure to satisfy the incremental growth in demand for domestic and export coal," Marshall said.
"Mines in the PRB will benefit from declining production in other areas of the US, including central Appalachia, where miners are faced with higher production costs, declining reserve quality and environmental and regulatory opposition to mountaintop mining.”
Marshall said low-cost surface mines in the PRB enjoy a less restrictive permitting process, have lower sulphur content and will also be able to take advantage of surplus rail capacity.