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Patriot Coal will temporarily idle coal mine

World Coal,

Patriot Coal Corp. has announced its Highland Mine complex in Kentucky will idle all coal production because of a structural failure that damaged a portion of the camp preparation plant.

Patriot Coal anticipates that full production at the Highland coal mine will be restored by the end of June. The company also said that limited production may begin sooner than that date when the preparation plant is repaired sufficiently to resume partial coal processing operations.

When working at full capacity, the Highland Mine complex employs 500 workers and ships approximately 3.8 million tpa of coal.

At the end of April, mere months after announcing its emergence from an 18-month-long Chapter 11 reorganisation as a well-capitalised private company, Patriot announced that it had issued 60-day notices of potential layoffs to 847 West Virginia workers at two mining complexes.

North American coal miners are dealing with weak prices amid low demand for thermal electricity-making coal and metallurgical steelmaking coal as competition from the emerging shale gas industry impacts on markets.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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