Armstrong Coal Company
Peabody Coal Company moved into Ohio County in the early fifties and stayed almost fifty years. It seemed that every year, after that initial move, a new mine was started or a new and bigger stripping shovel or dragline was added in the area. Coal was king, and Ohio and Muhlenberg Counties were blessed with monies from the mining operation. The local workforce was never in need of good paying jobs. By the end of the twenty-first century, all was gone, and to some, all of the coal had been taken. Others knew better and a few of them waited for the correct time to start removing some of the remaining coal reserves.
The twenty-first century arrived in Ohio and Muhlenberg Counties and the prospects of good paying jobs for this area were bleak. A year or so later rumors were floating about, concerning the Centertown area having a lot of coal reserves and some people were looking into the idea of starting up a coal company. Armstrong Energy was a private company formed in 2006 by management and Yorktown Partners LLC. Armstrong Coal Company was formed as subsidiary of Armstrong Land Company of St. Louis, Mo. and set up headquarters in Madisonville, Ky. It was set up to acquire and develop coal reserves of the Illinois Coal Basin. By the end of 2007 several employees were working out of Madisonville and started the process of acquiring coal reserves and equipment to mine the coal. The first mine was opened in 2008 and in July of that year, the first coal shipment was sent out by rail. Since then several mines have opened, most in the Centertown area. An underground mine and a prep plant opened in Muhlenberg County near Central City. A prep plant was built at the Midway Strip Mine and a barge loading/unloading facility and a prep plant were built in Ohio County, near Centertown, and on the Green River below Central City. Two small, 1960 vintage, Page Draglines were shipped to the Kronos area and have been rebuilt on site. The rebuild was basically a remanufacture, with the latest computerized technology being used, including a "Joy Stick" type control instead of the old levers and pedals to operate the dragline. Where Peabody Coal Company was mostly an employee maintained and operated mine, Armstrong uses a lot of contractors to furnish some of the equipment, as well as to maintain that equipment. Most, if not all, of the strip mine blasting is being done by contractors. After all, Armstrong Coal opened several mines from 2008 until 2012, thus it has gone through a fast growing stage.
From the time that Peabody Coal Company ceased operations in this area, a lot of the experienced miners were of the retirement age. A few "Old Pros" were hired at Armstrong Coal. The area technical schools opened some "Coal Mining" type classes and Armstrong has hired a lot of these students that completed some of the required courses. A mix of experience miners, and younger employees, willing and wanting to learn the correct and safe way to mine has made the start-up operation of Armstrong Coal Company a successful operation.
Several years ago, an Armstrong Coal Company Miner told me and I quote: "And Now It Starts Again". He was a young Peabody Miner, in the Ohio County boom days, but later, had to travel out of state, to continue working for Peabody. His quote was in reference to new mining jobs opening in Ohio County and of him being able to return to his home and work for Armstrong.
Armstrong Coal Company, with a home office in Madisonville, currently has five surface mines, two underground mines, two prep plants and a loading/unloading dock on the Green River. At present, the surface mines include, Midway, East Fork, Lewis Creek, Equality Boot, and Maddox. All of these five surface mines are located in Ohio County, near Centertown. Armstrong Coal Company had three underground mines, Big Run and Kronos Mines in Ohio County and Parkway in Muhlenberg County. Recently the Kronos Mine opened to replace Big Run and Big Run was shut down. The company has prep plants for washing and mixing the coal at Midway and Parkway Mines. The Ohio County Mines, prep plant, and river dock are located in the Centertown Area, with the mining area generally being bordered on the North by the Rough River, on the West by the Green River, on the South by the Western Kentucky Parkway and on the East by the Green River Parkway. The Muhlenberg County Mine and Prep Plant are located near Central City and just South of the West Kentucky Parkway and being bordered on the West by highway 431 and on the East by the Green River. In the past few years, Armstrong Coal has moved at a record pace of opening mines and closing of others. I think that on this particular date, I have all of the mines and equipment listed correctly and have not left out any. If I need to be corrected, please feel free to send me corrections. As mines are added and removed, I will try to keep this page updated, but will appreciate any help from any of those reading this web page. If you have material that you think would improve the web page, please feel free to contact me. Thanks for understanding and thanks for any material that you may send.
Click on the following "Action Boxes" to view a particular web page of the Armstrong Mines that are operating or was operating in this area.