United Coal Company

From Global Energy Monitor

United Coal Company (UCC) is a nonunion coal mining company headquartered in Teays Valley, West Virginia. It is a leading producer of high grade metallurgical coals, with underground, surface, and highwall operations in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and is a subsidiary of the United Management Company, headquartered at Bristol, Virginia. The UCC produces high, medium, and low volatile coking coals, serving coking coal customers both domestically and worldwide. By 2007 UCC was producing at a rate of 7.5 million tons of coal a year – 80 percent metallurgical and 20 percent steam.[1]

In May 2009 Ukrainian business group SCM Holdings/Metinvest acquired the company for an estimated $1 to $1.4 billion (USD). Metinvest is an international, vertically integrated mining and steel group of companies, comprising 23 industrial companies leading the mining and steel industry of Ukraine and the Commonwealth of Independent States.[2] Metinvest is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, a coal baron who is ranked by Forbes as having a personal fortune of $5.2 billion made from his steel and coal interests.[3]

Metinvest reportedly purchased the privately held United Coal Company for access to UCC metallurgical coal reserves in Appalachia that will be mined and exported for the production of high grade steel in Europe.[4]

Outside Investors

United in 2006 allowed former King Pharmaceuticals executives John M. Gregory and Joseph "Joe" Gregory of Bristol, Tennessee and of SJ Investments, and Gregory Energy Partners, to invest in the company. The Gregory brothers are its first investors outside the McGlothlin family.[5]

Founder, James W. "Jim" McGlothlin

In 1970, Jim McGlothin (a legal resident of Austin, Texas), along with his father Woodrow W. McGlothlin (who started the Diamond Smokeless Coal Co. in the mid-1950s) and five other investors, founded the United Coal Company in Grundy, Virginia. McGlothlin first sold UCC in 1997 and later repurchased the company in 2004. The McGlothlins also founded The McGlothlin Foundation, which funds a variety of education-related causes in Southwest Virginia.[6]

The 2006 "McGlothlin Energy Policy"

While speaking at the industry-sponsored 2006 Virginia Coal Conference held at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, McGlothlin described the United States energy policy as being "America's Achilles heel" and compromising national economic independence due to both losing manufacturing jobs to relaxed labor, environmental, and saftety costs in China and to America being energy dependent upon Islamic nations "with the most extreme and hostile people on earth."[7]

McGlothlin laid out the following framework of his self-described "McGlothlin Energy Policy" during the 2006 Virginia Coal Conference:[7]

  • implementing a nationwide blue law prohibiting work on Sundays except for truly vital businesses and industry;
  • imposing an additional federal gas tax of $1 more per gallon on fuel sold on Sundays and Mondays to curb "weekend driving larks";
  • requiring every vehicle to get at least 30 miles per gallon within five years;
  • expanding the federal government by creating a U.S. Office of Nuclear Power Production ;
  • expediting the construction of new nuclear power plants across the United States;
  • preserving natural gas reserves "for the long haul" and;
  • banning the use of natural gas for power production in the United States;
  • federal subsidizing coal-to-liquid fuel plants [through government loans and tax assistance];
  • passing federal legislation guaranteeing a minimum floor price $55 per barrel for coal-to-liquid fuels, and;
  • placing tariffs on stocks of imported crude oil arriving in the United States.

United Management Company

UCC's parent company United Management Company, LLC is invested in oil, gas, power generation, industrial parts distribution, and finance, and maintains the publicly traded UC Investment Fund (UCIFX).[8]

In August 2009, United Coal Company moved into its new corporate headquarters at 110 Sprint Drive in Blountville, Tennessee, approximately one mile from the Blountville residence of Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.[9]

Headquartered in Blountville, Tennessee , the United Coal Company operates six subsidiaries in three states. A staff of 34 employees work out of the Blountville office, which combines all corporate activities and executives in one location, including legal counsel, risk management, accounting, purchasing, information technology, human resources and sales – departments previously located in Teays Valley, West Virginia, and Bristol, Virginia.[10]

United Coal holdings

Political Influence

Coal Execs Invite Presidential Hopeful Jeb Bush to Closed-Door Weekend Retreat (2015)

United Coal and other coal companies invited former Florida Governor and likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush to be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Coal and Investment Leadership Forum, an invitation-only retreat that brings together coal industry executives, Republican donors, and other "stakeholders," according to an invitation obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy and reported on by The Guardian. Bush "evidently signalled his willingness to meet with industry leaders as early as February when the hosts of the coal forum – all owners and executives of coalmining companies – emailed out the first save-the-date notices," The Guardian reported.[11]

“It is a great opportunity to meet with stakeholders in the state,” Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Bush, said. “He will be talking about a variety of topics.”[11]

Bush had not yet officially declared his candidacy and was not disclosing fundraising information. "I think the major question is what promises is Jeb Bush making to the coal chief executives in that room. We assume Bush is there to raise money for his campaign [...] it is pretty clear why Jeb Bush was invited there. If Jeb Bush is elected they want him to protect their industry," Nick Surgey, research director of CMD, told The Guardian.[11]

Others named in the 2015 invitation included Tennessee Valley Authority president Bill Johns, Christopher C. Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Energy & Environment Legal Institute, and "the owners and chief executives of coalmining and energy companies" including Alliance Resource Partners, Alpha Natural Resources, Consol Energy, Drummond Company, and Arch Coal.[11]

According to The Guardian,

The invitations to the three-day forum promise access to influential figures – including a potential future occupant of the White House – in a relaxed setting, with time for cocktails, golf lessons, and fishing. The $7,500 fee does not include lodging.
"Once again, significant time will also be available for golf, fly fishing, one-on-one meetings and small VIP discussion groups, which is the hallmark of this conference," the invitation reads.[11]

The forum was likely to touch on rules limiting carbon pollution from power plants that were announced by the EPA in 2014. Jim McGlothlin, CEO of United Coal Company, "said the executives were eager to hear what Bush said about energy – but the hour-long encounter would not be restricted to the EPA rules. 'It would be our hope that he would touch upon his general energy policies,' McGlothlin said in an email." McGlothlin also noted that the forum planned to invite additional presidential candidates in 2016.[11]

United Coal Mines

Articles and Resources


  1. "Home" United Coal Company Website, November 2009
  2. "Ukraine oligarch buy US coal group" Financial Times, May 1, 2009
  3. "The World's Billionaires: #148 Rinat Akhmetov", Forbes, October 2010.
  4. http://www.themountaineagle.com/news/2009-05-06/front_page/001.html Wealthiest man in Europe buys United Coal Co. May 6, 2009. The Mountain Eagle.
  5. "United Coal Company Has New Investors" PRN Newswire, January 31, 2006
  6. "UCC History United Coal Company Website, November 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 U.K. "Coal Conference Speakers Say End Dependence On Foreign Oil" National Union of Mineworkers Website, November 2009
  8. "Eastern Coal Council" Eastern Coal Council newsletter, August 15, 2006
  9. http://www.tnsenate.com/members-1/lt-gov-ron-ramsey 'Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus.
  10. http://ucc.metinvestholding.com/en/activity/facilities Metinvest - OUR FACILITIES.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Suzanne Goldenberg, "Jeb Bush cozies up to coal industry barons at closed-door meeting," The Guardian, May 29, 2015.

Related GEM.wiki articles

External Articles

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