GILLETTE (WNE) — An accelerated plan to exit the Powder River Basin continues for Arch Resources Inc., which reported Thursday that it’s on pace to stop producing coal from its Coal Creek mine by the end of the year and to account for about 80% of its reclamation obligations at the mine by mid-2022.

“We are methodically harvesting value and cash from our legacy thermal assets while working down our long-term closure obligations in a systematic and measured way,” said Arch CEO Paul A. Lang in a 2021 first-quarter earnings report released Thursday morning.

The company already has completed $8 million worth of work in reducing Coal Creek’s retirement obligations along with $2 million for its flagship Black Thunder mine near Wright.

Overall, Arch reports a net loss of $6 million for the first quarter of the year, compared to losing $78.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 and $344.6 million overall in 2020.

After a sluggish start to the new year in January and February, mostly fueled by a continuing lag from the COVID-19 pandemic, Lang said the company had a very good March and is optimistic for that to continue into the summer.

He also said that while the PRB mines continue to show a profit, at 98 cents per ton in the first quarter, the company remains committed to extracting itself from thermal coal and the Powder River Basin.

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