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Press release from PR Newswire

Peabody Energy Begins Production From Wilpinjong and Millennium Mine Expansions in Australia

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peabody Energy Begins Production From Wilpinjong and Millennium Mine Expansions in Australia16:02 EST Wednesday, December 14, 2011ST. LOUIS, Dec. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) today said it is increasing seaborne coal volumes at its Wilpinjong and Millennium mines in Australia after expanding both operations.  "The successful expansions of Wilpinjong and Millennium increase our annual thermal and metallurgical coal supplies to serve the highest-demand regions by a combined 3 to 5 million tons," said Peabody Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory H. Boyce.  "With the recent acquisition of Macarthur Coal and additional Australian mine expansions over the next several years, Peabody plans on a rising share of our earnings to come from the world's largest coal exporting nation." The Wilpinjong thermal coal mine in New South Wales will increase annual production by 2 to 3 million tons beginning in 2012 from the 9.2 million tons in 2010 after completing a preparation plant and coal handling facility expansion.  The mine supplies export and domestic markets and is among Australia's most productive surface operations.  Capital investment for the project is expected to total approximately $95 million.  The Millennium Mine in Queensland is targeted to increase PCI and semi-hard coal production by 1 to 2 million tons per year when full production is reached in 2013.  Peabody has invested approximately $20 million of the expansion capital to date, with the majority of the investment of up to $275 million to be made over the next two years.  Millennium sold 1.6 million tons in 2010. Peabody also has reached a 10-year agreement with the Australian Rail Track Corporation for below-rail track access in the Hunter Valley rail network, beginning in January 2012.  The contract covers expansion volumes from the Wilpinjong and Wambo mines in line with contracts and allocations in place with export terminals at the Port of Newcastle.Peabody Energy is the world's largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in clean coal solutions.  Its coal products fuel approximately 10 percent of U.S. power and 2 percent of worldwide electricity. Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions that the company believes are reasonable, but they are open to a wide range of uncertainties and business risks that may cause actual results to differ materially from expectations as of Dec. 14, 2011. These factors are difficult to accurately predict and may be beyond the company's control. The company does not undertake to update its forward-looking statements. Factors that could affect results include those described in this press release as well as risks detailed in the company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.CONTACT:Beth Sutton(928) 522-7008  SOURCE Peabody Energy