Coal: The Choice for the Future
The large coal companies had pulled out of Southern Illinois by the 1990s, but by no means were the coal reserves exhausted – a 250-year supply of bounty remained. Also left behind was a mining heritage that ran as deep as the coal seams. Generations of families had worked the mines.
It took the vision of four men – Steve Carter, F.D. Robertson, James Bunn and James Bunn, Jr. – to revive the proud heritage of coal mining in Southern Illinois. The partners understood that niche markets still sought the high-quality coal of Southern Illinois. In April 1997, a new coal company was born and a regional industry reborn.
Knight Hawk Coal differs from its predecessors. One won’t find the behemoth draglines or other monster machinery at its mines. Instead, a fully mobilized operation relying on Caterpillar D-11 bulldozers do the work.
Knight Hawk runs under the tenets that it must be adaptive, streamlined and mobile. The company’s growth demonstrates that this is a formula for success. What started as a 15-man operation extracting 260,000 tons of coal a year today employs 350 workers sending to market 3.6 million tons of product yearly.The coal mining industry in Southern Illinois has changed and Knight Hawk is leading the way through innovation and determination.
In August 2006, Arch Coal acquired a 1/3rd interest in Knight Hawk in exchange for cash and coal reserves. This demonstrated the confidence the nation's number two coal producer has in Knight Hawk's capabilities and helped secure a brighter future for the company.