July 21, 2014 / 9:31 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Arch Coal to idle Cumberland River complex, cuts 213 jobs

(Adds background, details)

July 21 (Reuters) - Arch Coal Inc said it would idle its Cumberland River coal company complex in Kentucky and Virginia to limit production of steel-making coal amid depressed prices.

Idling of the complex will lead to elimination of 213 jobs and reduce the company’s full-year metallurgical coal volumes by about 200,000 tons, said Arch Coal, which employed about 5,350 people as of Dec. 31.

Excess supply of metallurgical coal, coupled with lower Asian demand for steel, has depressed prices, forcing several companies to cut costs and shut mines.

Cliffs Natural Resources said in June it plans to idle its Pinnacle metallurgical coal mine in West Virginia.

Bigger rival Peabody Energy also said in April it was reviewing some of its higher-cost operations.

Arch Coal is turning its focus on producing met coal from its low-cost assets in Appalachia. The company has eight mines in the region.

The coal miner cut the top end of its 2014 met coal forecast to 6.9 million tons from 7.3 million tons, but maintained the lower end at 6.3 million tons.

In the first half of 2014, Cumberland River sold about 290,000 tons of coal, consisting mainly of higher-cost metallurgical grade coal.

Arch Coal’s New York-listed shares closed at $2.99 on Monday. (Reporting By Kanika Sikka in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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