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The Virginia-based company’s net loss compares with $20.6 million for the third quarter of 2012, and was blamed on soft conditions in the coal market.

“The mines are doing great,” chairman and ceo Peter Socha said.

“They have continued to exceed our expectations for both cost control and capital control. They have done an incredible job of adjusting to the soft market conditions and the high levels of uncertainty and concern that surround the coal industry of Central Appalachia,” he added.

The company reduced mining costs to $77.80 per ton in the third quarter, compared with $87.15 per ton for the corresponding period in 2012.

The US metallurgical coal market has stabilised but remains in oversupply. Too much US met coal is sold at a discount to the fourth-quarter benchmark price of $152 per tonne.

The trading range for US met coal is too low for the country to maintain market share, according to James River Coal.

Coal sales revenue was $143.3 million in the third quarter of 2013 compared with $264.5 million in the same period last year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) was $6.97 million for the third quarter, down from $7.55 million for the same period last year.