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$12 million coal processing plant planned for McDowell

Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV
December 14, 2010
$12 million coal processing plant planned for McDowell
CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

KEYSTONE — A Russian mining and steel producer announced plans Monday to build a $12 million coal processing plant in McDowell County.

The Associated Press reported that Mechel OAO is developing the coal processing plant in Keystone. The company said the plant will double production of metallurgical grade coal from its southern West Virginia mines. The plant will be capable of handling three million tons of coal annually. However, the company said its annual production volume at the first stage is expected to reach only about a million tons.

“The Keystone low-volatile metallurgical coal is of a very high quality and is in great demand throughout the world,” Boris Nikishichev, CEO of Mechel Mining Management Company, said in a press release posted on the company’s website. “Our plans to step up coal production required us to boost processing volumes as well.”

The plant expansion should be good news for the small town of Keystone, Mayor Dennis Robinson said.

Robinson said he learned of the $12 million plant expansion Monday from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph’s online website.

“It came as news to me,” Robinson said. “I know this Russian mine steel producer does operate a plant in the town of Keystone. But there hasn’t been any official contact. I’m hoping this is correct, and I’m hoping they will contact us.”

Robinson said the plant expansion is a positive for Keystone.

“This is very good news,” Robinson said. “I don’t know any of the particulars, but this sounds like very good news.”

Robinson said the town hopes to work with Mechel as the new plant is developed. He said the company has been good to work with in the past.

The Moscow-based company operates mines and power plants and produces steel, hardware, heat, electric power and other resources. The products are marketed domestically and internationally, according to the company press release.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com