Alpha Natural Resources is America's second biggest coal miner by market capitalization, the leading producer of metallurgical coal in the US, and holds the largest reserves of coal (5.1 billion tons). Alpha has more than 60 active mines and 14 coal preparation plants located throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. After a 2009 merger with Foundation Coal and the 2011 purchase of Massey Energy, Alpha now owns the majority of the Mountain Top Removal Projects in the United States.
Alpha Natural Resources bought Massey for $7.1 billion. The combination creates the second largest coal operator in the United States and a global leader in metallurgical coal supply. Alpha and Massey together have a total reserve base of approximately 5 billion tons of the world’s largest, most expensive metallurgical coal reserve bases.
Before the purchase of Massey Energy, nearly half of Alpha’s production came from two huge surface mines in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. The mines, called the Belle Ayre and Eagle Butte, produced more than 50 million tons with about 600 workers in 2010, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.
In 2012 Alpha Natural Resources ranked as the nation’s third largest coal producer. This U.S. Department of Energy chart shows that rank, listing Alpha — with nearly 116 million tons produced — ahead of CONSOL Energy, Patriot Coal, and Cloud Peak Energy (the top two producers are Peabody Energy and Arch Coal).
In March 2011, Alpha Natural Resources said it plans to open offices in Sydney, Australia, and New Delhi, India, in response to the increase in demand for metallurgical and thermal coal.