Foresight Evacuates Workers After Fire Detected at Coal Mine

Jul 17, 2014 4:48 pm ET

(Updates with comment from analyst in fifth paragraph.)

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Foresight Energy LP, a coal producer that held an initial public offering last month, said workers were evacuated without injury from an Illinois mine after a fire was detected underground.

High carbon dioxide levels indicating a blaze were identified at the Deer Run mine near the town of Hillsboro at about 7:30 p.m. local time July 15, Foresight said today in a statement.

Hillsboro, federal and state officials are working together to contain and extinguish the fire, St. Louis-based Foresight said. Water is being pumped into the affected area via two holes that were drilled into the mine, the company said.

No one at Foresight was immediately available to comment on the impact of the fire on the mine’s production. Deer Run produced 1.6 million tons of coal in the first quarter of 2014, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data.

The extent of any damage won’t be clear until carbon monoxide levels return to normal and the MSHA says it’s safe to re-enter, said Brian Yu, a San Francisco-based analyst for Citigroup Inc., citing a conversation with Foresight.

The company’s coal shipments shouldn’t be affected in the near term because it has sufficient stockpiles and excess capacity at its nearby Macoupin complex, Yu said today in a note. The fire occurred in an area far enough from the company’s longwall-mining equipment and the coal face that neither will likely be damaged, Yu said.

Deer Run has one longwall unit and two continuous miner units, according to Foresight’s website. Longwall mining involves a large machine with a shearer moving back and forth against a coal seam, ripping from a pane, or long wall, of coal.

Foresight fell 3.1 percent to $19.56 in New York.