SunCoke Energy’s coke making operations
SunCoke Energy (SXC) is different from other traditional American coal producers such as Peabody Energy (BTU) and Walter Energy (WLT), which are also featured in the VanEck Vectors Coal ETF (KOL). SunCoke Energy (SXC) is the largest independent manufacturer of coke, which is used in steelmaking.
SunCoke runs five coke making plants in the United States. Its Jewell plant in Virginia is the oldest plant, in operation since 1962, and has a capacity of 720,000 tons a year. The Granite City plant in Illinois, in operation since 2009, has a capacity of 650,000 tons a year. The Indiana Harbor plant in Indiana has a capacity of 1.2 million tons. The company’s two coke making plants in Ohio are the Middletown plant (550,000 tons) and the Haverhill plant (1.1 million tons). In all, the company has a capacity of 4.2 million tons.
SunCoke Energy (SXC) also provides logistics services including transportation, loading and unloading, storage, and blending. The company operates the following four coal terminals: Quincy Coal Terminal (annual throughput capacity of 7 million tons), Ceredo Coal Terminal in West Virginia (18 million tons), Kentucky Coal Terminal in Kentucky (6 million tons), and Lake Coal Terminal in Indiana (2 million tons). The terminals are well connected by CSX Corporation (CSX) and Norfolk Southern railroads.
Coal mining operations
SunCoke Energy (SXC) runs 11 coal mines (ten underground and one surface) in the vicinity of the Jewell coke making facility in Virginia. In 2013, these mines produced 1.3 million tons of metallurgical coal. Of that, 1.1 million tons were produced from company-operated mines and 200,000 tons from mines given on contract to Revelation Energy LLC.
To understand SunCoke Energy’s position in the steelmaking value chain, let’s first understand the process of steelmaking. We’ll cover that in the next part of the series.