* Sees metallurgical coal price at $215-$230/tonne in 2013
* Consol CEO sees shakeout of uncompetitive companies
* Stock rises slightly
Sept 6 (Reuters) - Demand for steelmaking coal should increase next year and send prices higher than their current low levels, the head of U.S. coal miner Consol Energy said on Thursday.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brett Harvey said current low metallurgical coal prices, driven down by weak demand in China and elsewhere, could result in some uncompetitive companies in the high-cost Appalachian coalfields falling by the wayside.
"Demand for met (metallurgical coal) has dropped off, that's why Buchanan is shut down," Harvey said, referring to Consol's mine in Virginia that the company has temporarily idled.
"(But) we see a shift, the marginal players must be shaken out," he told analysts at a Barclays energy conference in New York. At current prices, "mines in the U.S. are absolutely under water.
"I think in 2013 there will be a shakeout and we expect prices for high-quality met coal to be back up at $215 to $230 (per tonne) compared to $168 now," Harvey said.
Consol stock rose 14 cents to $29.07 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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