SOURCE: Rothman Research

Rothman Research

March 17, 2010 09:26 ET

Growth in Asian Steel Industry -- New Target Market for Metallurgical Coals

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - March 17, 2010) - - An agreement between Industrial Metals and Minerals Companies and Asian Steel Mills has set sail this year. By April 2010, a 30% plus increase in total product shipment will kick off the opening of the Asian market for metallurgical coals, in particular, and other mine products -- this is nearly 2 million net volumes which are coming from just a single company's subsidiaries. Mining Companies are expanding into the Asia and the Pacific due to the increase in demands for raw materials, especially from emerging economies. David Cowan senior analyst at says, "The growth of Asian steel industries have precipitated mining companies to expand to the region -- especially since without the raw material they supply, their strong growth cannot be sustained. With the steel mills' demands to produce more, Industrial Metals & Minerals companies are more than enthused to supply their needs at the same time, sustaining a strong, stable market." is a website for investors seeking analytical information on the Industrial Metal and Minerals Industry. This industry is looking into providing the increasing demand in Asia, as studied by the senior analyst at, and the two major companies that have the potential of riding on this wave of demand from the Asian steel industry are James River Coal Co. (NASDAQ: JRCC) and Patriot Coal Corp. (NYSE: PCX).

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8%-10% growth has been observed in Indian steel industry over the last few years. India's 55-60-million-tons, compared to China's 500-million-ton production, still ranks the 5th largest in the world of steel producers. The industry is growing and analysts see that it will remain strong in the future especially since there is a construction explosion going on in almost every expanse of the world, may it be in the U.S., Europe, or in Asia. 

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 James River Coal Company mines and sells bituminous, steam and industrial-grade coal through six operating subsidiaries located throughout Eastern Kentucky and Southern Indiana. We are the sixth largest coal producer in Central Appalachia and the third largest in the Illinois Basin.

James River Coal became bankrupt in March 2003 as a result of rising industry costs and long-term contracts priced well below the market. The small Central Appalachian coal mining firm emerged with a fresh start in May 2004, and strong industry fundamentals suggest the outlook for James River is brighter today. The Company recently reported another solid quarter and ended the year on high note. 2009 was the most profitable year in the history of James River Coal Company. Their mine operations had a very good year in 2009. JRCC have made significant progress on a number of mine development projects in both Central Appalachia and the Midwest. Despite the continued severe winter weather, their mines are returning to expected levels of production and costs.

Patriot Coal Corporation is a leading producer and marketer of coal in the eastern United States, with 14 current mining complexes in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. The company ships to domestic and international electric utilities, industrial users and metallurgical coal customers, and controls approximately 1.8 billion tons of proven and probable coal reserves. Company reported strong fourth quarter results.

Patriot enters 2010 with more stable operations. As a result, they are positioned to manage near-term challenges and opportunities, and to prosper as coal markets improve. Moreover, the companies in the coal industry have a great deal of opportunity ahead of them. Aside from the recent cold-snap and the fact that there are backlogs of ships waiting to load in ports around the world, coal is still one largest sources of electricity generation in the world. During the quarter, Patriot continued to see the demand for metallurgical coal strengthen. Asian economies are recovering more rapidly, and are importing met coal at a robust pace. Idled steel mill capacity is being restarted around the globe. European and Brazilian markets are poised to expand further, while U.S. steel markets have stabilized. With these improving markets, PCX recently increased sales of crossover met coal for delivery in 2010, primarily from the Panther mine.

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