The company plans to initially surface mine 10,000-20,000 tons per month with shipments expected to begin in early 2012.

South Fork Coal will then increase production to about 50,000-60,000 tons by late 2012.

Xinergy chairman and CEO Jon Nix said the opening of the Greenbrier operations marks the beginning of a long-anticipated transformation to the company’s production profile.

"We are committed to continuing the optimization of our asset portfolio towards maximizing value for our shareholders," Nix said.