Our coal and natural resource management segment primarily involves the management and leasing of coal properties and the subsequent collection of royalties. We also earn revenues from other land management activities, such as selling standing timber, leasing fee-based coal-related infrastructure facilities to certain lessees and end-user industrial plants, collecting oil and gas royalties and from coal transportation, or wheelage, fees. As of December 31, 2012, we owned or controlled approximately 871 million tons of proven and probable coal reserves in Central and Northern Appalachia, the San Juan Basin and the Illinois Basin. We enter into long-term leases with experienced, third-party mine operators, providing them the right to mine our coal reserves in exchange for royalty payments. We actively work with our lessees to develop efficient methods to exploit our reserves and to maximize production from our properties. We do not operate any mines.
How Our Coal and Natural Resources Business Works
We earn most of our coal royalties revenues under long-term leases that generally require our lessees to make royalty payments to us based on the higher of a percentage of the gross sales price or a fixed price per ton of coal they sell. The balance of our coal royalties revenues is earned under long-term leases that require the lessees to make royalty payments to us based on fixed royalty rates that escalate annually. A typical lease either expires upon exhaustion of the leased reserves or has a five to ten-year base term, with the lessee having an option to extend the lease for at least five years after the expiration of the base term. Substantially all of our leases require the lessee to pay minimum rental payments to us in monthly or annual installments, even if no mining activities are ongoing. These minimum rentals are recoupable, usually over a period from one to three years from the time of payment, against the production royalties owed to us once coal production commences.
Substantially all of our leases impose obligations on the lessees to diligently mine the leased coal using modern mining techniques, indemnify us for any damages we incur in connection with the lessee's mining operations, including any damages we may incur due to the lessee's failure to fulfill reclamation or other environmental obligations, conduct mining operations in compliance with all applicable laws, obtain our written consent prior to assigning the lease and maintain commercially reasonable amounts of general liability and other insurance. Substantially all of the leases grant us the right to review all lessee mining plans and maps, enter the leased premises to examine mine workings and conduct audits of lessees' compliance with lease terms. In the event of a default by a lessee, substantially all of the leases give us the right to terminate the lease and take possession of the leased premises.
Coal Production and Reserves
In addition, we earn revenues under coal services contracts, timber contracts and oil and gas leases. Our coal services contracts generally provide that the users of our coal services pay us a fixed fee per ton of coal processed at our facilities. All of our coal services contracts are with lessees of our coal reserves and these contracts generally have terms that run concurrently with the related coal lease. Our timber contracts generally provide that the timber companies pay us a fixed price per thousand board feet of timber harvested from our property. We receive royalties under our oil and gas leases based on a percentage of the revenues the producers receive for the oil and gas they sell.
Central Appalachian Reserves Map
Illinois Basin Reserves Map
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