Consol's conveyor calamity

A 'structural failure' to the above-ground conveyor belt at Consol Energy's mine and preparation plant in Pennsylvania has the company reporting that "coal from the Bailey and Enlow Fork mines could be fully impacted for the next two weeks."

The conveyor, which collapsed over the weekend, is a series of belts that brings coal from the Enlow Fork and Baily mines to the plant.  If, as the company suggested in the report, one belt is repaired then operations could continue at 60% capacity.

And while there was allusions to how "coal shipments on the spot market could be affected," confidence in the company has remained high – with only a slight 2.3% drop in share price (NYSE:CNX).

News of the company's conveyor problem comes only a few weeks after reports that "Consol's coal production fell to 14.6 million tons in the quarter ended June 30 from 15.4 million tons a year earlier."

Were that not trouble enough, with coal prices falling as electricity producers are utilizing natural gas over coal, Reuters also reported that Consol deferred production of 300,000 tons of coal due to weak demand.

Fortunately no one was hurt when conveyor system failed and the company is, as expected, undergoing a "thorough assessment of the incident."