Foresight Energy is a leading producer of thermal coal with reserves in the Illinois Basin. With nearly 2.1 billion tons of coal reserves, we believe we are among the largest holders of coal reserves in the United States. Our reserves are sufficient to support over 75 years of production at our current production level.
We operate our three active mining complexes with longwall mining systems. This highly productive mining method coupled with the favorable geology of our coal has resulted in our mines being among the safest, most productive and lowest cost underground coal mines in the United States.
Our mining complexes (Williamson, Sugar Camp, and Hillsboro) are designed to support up to 7 longwall mining systems, with a combined productive capacity of up to 50 million tons of high Btu coal per year.
Our reserves and mines are strategically located near multiple rail and river transportation access points giving us multiple transportation options. Our access to competing rail carriers as well as access to truck and barge transport provides us with cost-competitive flexibility. We own a 25 million ton per year barge-loading river terminal on the Ohio River and have access to export terminal facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our low operating costs, competitive transportation rates and high heat content of our coal enable us to be cost competitive on a delivered cost per Btu to a wide variety of domestic and international markets. We have been exporting coal through ports near New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama since 2008 to Europe, South America, India, China, Africa, and the Middle East.
The late Chris Cline launched his career in the coal industry in 1980 at the age of 22. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father before him, he began working as an underground coal miner in southern West Virginia. He quickly moved into management, where he learned to use unique tools to motivate his workforce to develop and run low-cost coal mining operations. Working proactively with union and union-free operations, Chris Cline’s successes attracted the notice of major coal companies who engaged him to provide contract mining services for their own mines.
In 1985 as his market knowledge deepened and he developed a reputation as a low-cost coal producer, Chris moved his company from its contract mining roots toward developing and operating its own mines, preparation plants, loading docks and coal sales arms. Chris formed his energy development group, the Cline Group, in 1990, and through his front-line experience in each of these disciplines, his proactive approach to mine development and the strength of his workforce and management team, he was able to capitalize on opportunities others missed. The Cline Group was soon recognized across the industry as a reliable coal supplier, an excellent lessee, and a desired employer committed to the health and safety of its miners — characteristics that continue to drive its success today.
Over the next decade, the Cline Group developed and operated some of the most productive underground coal mines in the country. Its operations in the Appalachian region placed the company among the top 20 coal producers in the United States, with an annual production capacity of approximately 10 million tons. In 2003, the Cline Group sold its mature mining and processing concerns in Appalachia, and concentrated on developing new opportunities in the coal sector.
Faced with rising mining costs and depleted coal reserves in the Appalachian region, the Cline Group shifted its focus to the plentiful coal reserves in the Illinois Basin. The company began acquiring reserves there in 2005, in anticipation of a renewed interest in high sulfur, high Btu coal. Foresight Energy LLC was formed in 2006 to develop and operate the company’s Illinois mining assets. Since that time, Foresight Energy has progressed from undeveloped reserves with zero production to three active, plus one currently inactive, coal mining complexes in central and southern Illinois and a high-volume coal transloading facility on the Ohio River in Indiana and short-haul railroad lines to increase flexibility.
When Chris Cline began acquiring Illinois Basin coal reserves in anticipation of renewed interest in high sulfur, high BTU coal he was sure the reserves would be mined someday, perhaps by his grandchildren.
That day came earlier than expected. In 2004 he began permitting the Pond Creek Mine in Williamson County, Illinois. Chris brought his mining team to Illinois to develop this project. Construction at the mine commenced in early 2005 and the slope construction began in July of that year. Slope development reached the coal seam at a depth of approximately 450 feet in mid-2006 and, following development of the slope bottom, commercial coal production began in November 2006. Longwall mining production commenced in March 2008. Our Williamson mining complex is currently active and produced over 5 million tons in 2019.
With the successful development and startup of the longwall at Williamson, planning began for similar longwall mining operations on other reserve locations controlled by Foresight Energy in Franklin County, Illinois, about 12 miles north of Williamson. Development of the slope and surface facilities at the MC# 1 Mine began in October 2008. The slope reached the coal seam in January 2010 and first coal shipments occurred in late August 2010. The first longwall system began production in the first quarter of 2012, with the second longwall system commencing production in 2014. Our Sugar Camp complex is currently active and produced 12.8 million tons in 2019.
In January 2009, Cline acquired coal mining assets in Macoupin County, Illinois from ExxonMobil Coal USA. Following the acquisition from Exxon, Macoupin recovered underground equipment, power lines, water pipe, conveyor belt and structure from the prior mine works. Macoupin then sealed off the majority of the previously mined areas of the mine to reduce the size of the underground area it needed to maintain and essentially created a new underground mine. The surface facilities were also upgraded including the rehabilitation of the preparation plant. Coal production began in the third quarter of 2009 with a single continuous miner super-section utilizing battery powered coal haulers. An additional continuous miner unit was added in January 2011 using a Flexible Conveyor Train system instead of coal haulers. In March 2020 production at Macoupin was idled due to challenging market conditions.
Construction at the fourth mining complex, the Hillsboro Energy Deer Run Mine in Montgomery County, Illinois, began in May 2009. Its slope reached the coal seam in November 2010 and initial coal shipments began in October 2011. Its first longwall mining system started in September 2012. In March 2015, a combustion event idled the mine, ultimately resulting in the permanent sealing of the current longwall district. In January 2019, we resumed production at the Deer Run Mine with one continuous miner unit and in March 2020 longwall production resumed. Our Hillsboro complex is currently active and has the capacity to produce up to 9 million tons per year.
Other infrastructure to support these four mining complexes was built during this time including nearly 75 miles of rail spurs and rail loading facilities. In April 2012 the 25 million tons per year Sitran barge loading terminal on the Ohio River commenced operations.
On June 23, 2014, Foresight Energy completed its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. On April 16, 2015, Murray Energy acquired a significant economic interest in Foresight. On March 27 and 28, 2017, Murray Energy acquired additional interests in Foresight, as further outlined in our public disclosures.
As a result of challenging thermal coal markets and depressed demand and pricing in both domestic and internationally, on March 10, 2020 Foresight Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On June 30, 2020 Foresight Energy emerged from bankruptcy protection and ceased being a publicly traded partnership. Upon emergence, over $1 billion of indebtedness was discharged and a capital structure was achieved such that Foresight Energy is well-positioned to aggressively compete in the domestic and global thermal coal markets.
Robert D. Moore
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Moore has more than 20 years of experience in management, operations, finance, accounting, and acquisitions in the United States coal industry. He has been our President and Chief Executive Officer, and a member of our Board of Directors, since May 2015. Mr. Moore also serves as Murray Energy Corporation’s Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, and he is a member of Murray Energy’s Board of Directors. Mr. Moore was integral in Murray Energy’s $3.05 billion acquisition of Consolidation Coal Company, from CONSOL Energy Inc., in December 2013. From 1993 to 2007, Mr. Moore held a number of financial and other senior management positions within Murray Energy. Mr. Moore received his Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in Accounting and Finance, his Certified Public Accountant certification from the State of Ohio, and his Master of Business Administration from The Ohio State University.
Jeremy J. Harrison
Chief Accounting Officer
Mr. Harrison has served as Chief Accounting Officer since September 2017. Mr. Harrison also serves as Murray Energy Corporation’s Chief Accounting Officer. Previously, Mr. Harrison served as Corporate Controller of Murray from 2015 to 2017. Prior to his position at Murray, Mr. Harrison was employed as a senior manager at a public accounting firm. Mr. Harrison is a certified public accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration from John Carroll University.
Serving the Communities that Support Our Success
Because we operate where our employees, vendor and customers live, we believe it is important to take an active role in supporting our local community.
Foresight has partnered with local schools to help improve the quality of life for their students; with programs such as the “weekend warrior” food bags to ensure that elementary school children receive adequate nutrition when not in school. We also sponsored weekly programs to provide children with fresh fruit. To ensure that children are prepared for Illinois’ harsh weather, we have donated winter clothing to local elementary schools. In addition, we have sponsored reward programs for local honor students, established reader libraries and provided funding for updated textbooks.
To promote community health, safety and spirit, we have funded renovations for local sport facilities and have sponsored teams allowing local youth to participate in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, softball and track. We regularly donate to area hospitals and hospice facilities. Also, we have provided financial support and equipment to local fire departments. And we continue to support the local work of such respected organizations as the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the United Way, the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.
Foresight Energy is also dedicated to improving higher education in mining. We’ve funded significant improvements in the Coal Mining Technology Department at Rend Lake College in Ina, Illinois, and established a scholarship program for mining engineering students through the Illinois Mining Institute. We also sponsor an internship program to provide mining engineering students with a chance to supplement their education with on-the-job training.