Pulverised coal injection (PCI) has become a standard practice in many of the worlds major steelworks. Finely ground coal is injected with the hot blast directly into the raceway of the furnace to provide energy and reductant in addition to that from the coke bed, thus replacing some of the coke with cheaper non-coking or weakly coking coal. Hence the PCI process increases the economic efficiency of steel-making by using lower cost coals to reduce consumption of higher cost prime coking coals. In addition the PCI coal is not subject to a coke-making or other process stage, other than grinding, prior to its introduction to the blast furnace.

PCI rates must be such that stable blast furnace operation is maintained while the permeability of the coke bed is not affected. The Groundhog Coalfield boasts anthracite coal of low and ultra-low volatile matter that are well-suited to the PCI market. These coals give high coke replacement ratios, assist in maintaining blast furnace productivity and exhibit good grinding characteristics.

The primary factor that influences the cost benefit of PCI is the amount of coke that can be replaced by the injected coal. The coke replacement ratio of a coal can be shown to be dependent on the energy or carbon content of that coal, with low volatile coals having the highest coke replacement ratio. Anthracite coal in the Groundhog Coalfield boasts very high energy content and fixed carbon on an ash fee basis.