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Patriot Coal warns of potential layoffs

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World Coal,

Patriot Coal has issued a 60-day warning of potential layoffs at its Wells and Corridor G mining complexes in West Virginia. The company currently has 847 employees across both sites.

The Wells mining complex includes the Black Stallion mine, CC10 mine and Wells preparation plant and produced 1.4 million short t of metallurgical coal last year. The Corridor G complex includes the Hobet 21 mine and Beth Station preparation plant and produced 2.3 million short t of thermal coal in 2013.

During the 60 day period, mine management at both locations will be evaluating operations and staffing to assess their ability to produce coal at a cost below projected sales prices, the company said in a statement. The scope of the anticipated downsizing will be communicated at the conclusion of that process.

"These actions are an unfortunate but necessary step to align Patriot's production with expected sales," said Patriot president and CEO, Bennett K. Hatfield. "Both metallurgical and thermal coal markets continue to be challenging, with pricing at levels well below production costs at many Central Appalachian mines. Despite the savings we achieved in our reorganisation, the production costs of these mines exceed today's depressed prices, necessitating these actions."

Patriot Coal only emerged from bankruptcy at the end of last year after completing a restructuring plan to reduce its retiree and healthcare obligations.

Adapted from press release by

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