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Arch Coal Misses 2013 Sales Forecast on Rail Delays

Arch Coal Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. producer of the commodity, sold less thermal and metallurgical coal than forecast last year because of rail delays and “challenging geological conditions” at a mine in West Virginia.

Fourth-quarter shipments of coal used by power stations from the Powder River Basin coal region in Wyoming fell 15 percent compared with the preceding three months, the St. Louis-based company said today in a statement. Arch expected to make up most of the shortfall in 2014, Chief Executive Officer John Eaves said in the statement.

Output at the Mountain Laurel mine dropped 40 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter because of geological issues at its longwall panel, Arch said. A longwall machine is used by miners underground to shear coal from across an entire coal face. Arch didn’t specify what were the geological issues.

The shares fell 3.2 percent to $4.18 at the close in New York. The company is scheduled to publish its fourth-quarter earnings before the start of trading on Feb. 4.

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