Crocuses are blooming, and throughout the North American wilderness, bears will soon be waking from their slumber. In southwestern Indiana, an early riser has been spotted.
Peabody will invest $350 to $400 million to develop the mine, with operations beginning in the second half of this year and ramping up over the course of a few years to 8 million tons of annual production. At full production, Bear Run will be the largest surface coal mine in the eastern U.S., and it will boost Peabody's current production levels in the Illinois Basin by more than 25%.
Despite the rising profile of Arch Coal
Peabody's announcement will be cheered in the factories of struggling equipment makers like Joy Global
For investors with exposure to coal, Peabody could hardly have been clearer with its statement that "long-term coal demand continues to grow." I have made the case repeatedly that coal will perform well following near-term disruptions to demand, and my forecast has been echoed by Arch Coal, CONSOL Energy, and others. As the undisputed king of coal, Peabody Energy remains the easiest winner to identify within a cave of waking bears.
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Fool contributor Christopher Barker wishes he could squeeze coal into diamonds. He can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns shares of Arch Coal, Caterpillar, Massey Energy, and Peabody Energy. The Motley Fool scrubs its disclosure policy before releasing it into the atmosphere.