Westmorelands Mines revWestmoreland Coal Co. has agreed in principal to purchase the San Juan mine in Farmington, New Mexico, from BHP Billiton and enter into a new long-term coal supply agreement with the owners of the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS).

The contemplated new coal supply agreement stated that Westmoreland will take over operations at the beginning of 2016. The new coal supply agreement expires in 2022, but SJGS owners can extend the agreement beyond 2022, to coincide with the SJGS owners’ plans for operation of the plant after 2022.

The San Juan mine is one of America’s leading longwall operations. Last year it produced nearly 8.8 million tons of coal from a single face, placing it just below the four leading longwall mines, which cut coal from two longwall faces. In addition to production number, the mine has developed new technology and implemented ventilation techniques to remain competitive.