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Patriot Coal closes Harris No. 1 Mine

World Coal,

Patriot Coal Corporation reported today that its operating subsidiary, Eastern Associated Coal, LLC, has terminated mining operations at its Harris No. 1 mine near Wharton, West Virginia as a result of sudden adverse geologic conditions in the primary conveyor belt and travel entries of the mine. The company determined today that the current and anticipated geologic conditions have caused continued mining operations to become impractical. Therefore, the company intends to permanently close the mine.

Changing geological conditions had led to a roof fall on the main conveyor line earlier this month, which had disrupted production. The Harris No. 1 mine was nearing the end of its projected mining life and was scheduled for closure in 2011.

"The decision today accelerated this impending closing, and although earlier than we would have liked, is the right decision considering conditions at the mine now and what we could experience in the coming months," said Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Whiting. A limited number of personnel will remain at the mining operation to close and reclaim the mine site in accordance with state and federal regulations.

No doubt the decision was also affected by the tightening of mining regulations. In May, Patriot was forced to close the mine by a Mines Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) order, owing to poor ventilation. The MHSA has also been stepping up safety procedures since the death of 29 miners in a West Virginia mine in April.

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