The Blue Diamond Coal Co. said it will build a $20-million plant that will process 1,250 tons of coal an hour.
Construction is to begin in July, 1989, at Beech Fork Hollow in southeastern Kentucky and be finished by October, 1990, Everett Kelly, Blue Diamond's general manager of mines, said.
Kelly said the plant should help the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company expand to meet the needs of more utilities. The plant, which would be among the largest in the eastern United States, will provide 2 million to 3 million tons of coal a year, Kelly said.
The company also plans to develop a $12 million longwall mining system at two new eastern Kentucky mines.
A longwall uses a large cutting machine that runs back and forth on a track, shearing hundreds of tons of coal off a seam as it passes. Hydraulic systems keep the track--and temporary, metal roof supports above it--advancing as the machine cuts into the seam.
Blue Diamond will finance the projects with roughly $30 million it received from the Georgia Power Co. when that utility bought itself out of a high-cost contract last year.