Arch Coal’s Leer mine in northern West Virginia started its longwall mining system, representing a major milestone in the development of the overall mining complex. The Leer mine is expected to ramp up production during Q1 2014, and to produce more than 3 million tons of coal on an annualized basis thereafter. The output’s majority will be sold into domestic and international metallurgical coal markets for use in steel production.

“With the start-up of the longwall, the Leer mine is poised to become a world-class supplier of metallurgical coal and a cornerstone of Arch’s Appalachian operations for many years to come,” said John W. Eaves, Arch’s president and CEO.

Arch has invested more than $400 million to develop the mine, which produces a high-quality, high-volatile A coking coal product that is attracting significant interest in world metallurgical markets.

Arch now operates six metallurgical and PCI-grade mines in Appalachia, including four in West Virginia. Arch also has significant undeveloped metallurgical coal reserves in the region that can support additional mine development in the years ahead.