Alpha Natural Resources has announced that three of its operating affiliates have notified their employees that the coal mines where they work are being idled, resulting in job losses.
One mine that had expected to be idled will continue to operate, while eight other mines have extended the period of time they will continue to operate.
Weak market conditions
In accordance with requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, notifications had originally been issued on July 31 at 11 different West Virginia mine sites, in addition to certain support operations, advising workers that their facilities were subject to being idled on 29 September due to sustained weak market conditions and government regulations challenging the Central Appalachian mining industry.
Independence Coal's Twilight (Progress) surface mine in Boone County and Pioneer Fuels' Ewing Fork No. 1 (Pax) surface mine in Kanawha and Raleigh Counties will be idled immediately. Some 193 positions will be eliminated while approximately 35 employees will be retained to perform reclamation work and wind down operations to an idle state. The two mines will be maintained in a condition for the immediate future that will allow them to re-start should market conditions and coal demand improve. Combined, the two sites shipped approximately 760,000 t of steam coal in the first half of this year and 660,000 t of metallurgical coal.
Alex Energy's Edwight mine in Raleigh County did not extend its WARN notification period and will continue to operate as usual.
Alpha mining operations
The eight operations that received WARN extension notices, with a revised idling date of 26 November or within the following two-week period, include Highland Mining's Superior, Reylas, Freeze Fork and Trace Fork surface mines in Logan County and the North surface mine in Mingo and Logan Counties. Also, WARN extension notices were given to Black Castle Mining's surface mine in Boone County, Republic Energy's Republic and Workman Creek surface mines in Raleigh County, and additional technical and other support services for these mine operations.
Another Alpha affiliate, Marfork Coal Company, has notified employees that it is eliminating 68 positions across several of the company's operations and idling the Marsh Fork mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Marsh Fork was not part of the group that received WARN notices in July. The mine shipped approximately 100,000 t of metallurgical coal in H1 2014.
Alpha's Wyoming-based Alpha Coal West subsidiary is holding job fairs for Alpha-affiliated workers to fill openings at their two large surface mines in the Powder River Basin. Additionally, some individuals may accept positions with other Alpha affiliates.
Alpha's President Paul Vining commented: "This is another step in the ongoing process of adapting to a dynamic coal market, with operations making adjustments to match the opportunities we see. Our operations managers and our sales group are working together to ensure that we're in balance with customer demand and able to sustain the company profitably from the set of mines that will continue to operate."
Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/29092014/alpha-natural-resources-updates-on-redundancies-1367/