March 18, 2010 / 6:52 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Arch Coal boosts Powder River Basin reserves

* Leases state-owned coal reserves in Montana

* Arch gets right to mine 8,300 acres

* Bid $85.8 mln for lease, payable in April

NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - Arch Coal Inc ACI.N said on Thursday it was the successful bidder for a coal lease in Montana that will help it increase its operations in the Powder River Basin coal fields.

Arch made a bid of $85.8 million, payable in April, for the right to mine about 8,300 acres of state-owned minerals in the Otter Creek Tracts in southeastern Montana, the St Louis-based company said.

“We view the combined Otter Creek coal reserves as a strategic platform for future growth in the Northern Powder River Basin,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Leer.

“We believe these Northern PRB reserves will help us competitively serve U.S. power producers, supply additional coal for export to emerging Asia or possibly house the site of a future coal-conversion facility.”

Arch, which sold 125 million tons of coal last year, now controls about 1.5 billion tons of coal reserves in Montana’s Otter Creek area.

Reporting by Steve James

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