For the chief executive of a coal company, the pumping of air conditioners is music to his ears.
“It’s good for the coal business,” said Rogliano.
And there was more good news for Rogliano to discuss. His company, INR Energy, said yesterday that it has landed an agreement to sell its West Virginia mining operations for $757 million.
“We’re always getting approached about properties that we bought,” Rogliano said. “Some are real. Some are tire kickers.”
The deal between INR and the much larger Cliffs Natural Resources is expected to close within 60 days. The 450 employees working at its West Virginia mines will become Cliffs employees, Rogliano said.
Cliffs, according to a statement it released about the deal, intends to increase INR’s labor force at the sites.
INR was founded in 2007 as Imagin Natural Resources with the $200 million backing of two private equity funds, Barclays Natural Resource Investment and the Energy & Minerals Group.
One of the first investments INR made was in Buffalo Creek, W.Va. It turned that land into a multi-mine complex that harvests metallurgical coal.
Rogliano did not say how much revenue the privately held INR has been producing annually. According to Cliffs, INR’s West Virginia sites are expected to produce 2.4 million tons of coal by 2012.
The sale of its West Virginia operations leaves INR with no other operational mines. The company still has 25 employees who work at its headquarters off Forest Avenue. Rogliano said the company has other tracts of land it is developing for mining and has its eye on Australia and Brazil.
“Within the global markets, they’re two of the better hotspots,” Rogliano said.
INR, particularly compared with local peer Massey Energy, has managed to stay out of the public eye.
“I’m not looking for publicity,” Rogliano said. “I keep quiet and just do our business.”
And to avoid the kind of media and regulatory firestorm Massey has been under since dozens of miners died at one of its West Virginia mines in April, Rogliano says, any coal company must put safety first.
“Safety comes before a dollar,” he said.
“You go home the way you came in. You have to operate it like that.”