US-based American Metals & Coal International (AMCI) and JAZ Ventures have partnered with South Korea’s POSCO, and Japan’s Itochu to invest in North Central Resources, the owner of the Longview coking coal mine under development in West Virginia. 

 

Itochu announced the acquisition of a 25pc interest in the joint entity with proportional investment commitments. AMCI will retain 42.38pc, JAZ 10.58pc, and POSCO 22.05pc in the new venture. 

 

Itochu has mining assets in Australian coal and iron ore mines. Twenty seven percent of its annual sales of over $12bn are from hydrocarbons and 37pc are from food products. Metals and coal production is a growing segment for Itochu even though it constitutes 6pc of its total sales at present. 

 

The 4mn st (3.63mt) per year mine is currently under development for full-scale production readiness by the end of 2022. The mine is expected to have a 30-year life span and is likely to cost $450mn. It will produce high quality metallurgical coal (US high-vol A coking coal with high CSR) as one of the largest coking coal mines sites in the US. 

 

A separate entity will be established for worldwide marketing and sales, particularly targeting Japan, South Korea, and India. With the higher use of EAF’s, US coking coal demand has weakened. Higher quality coal sources are increasing in demand to reduce overall production costs and better meet environmental goals. 

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