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Patriot Coal warns of further layoffs

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World Coal,

US coal miner, Patriot Coal, may layoff 360 workers at its Corridor G mining complex in West Virginia, the company said in a press release. The site, which includes the Hobet 21 mine and Beth Station preparation plant, produced 2.3 million t of thermal coal last year but prices for the fuel have since dropped below the operating costs of the mine, Patriot said.

Increasing Environmental Protection Agency regulation, mild summer weather and low natural gas prices have left many Appalachian coal mines struggling to cover costs, said Bennett K. Hatfield, president and CEO of Patriot.

“Over the next two months, Corridor G management will further evaluate operations and staffing to assess their ability to produce coal at lower costs and determine the extent of actions to be taken,” Hatfield continued.

“The announcement of potential layoffs at the Hobet 21 mine and Beth Station preparation plant is more tragic news for our mines and their families,” said Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

“We recognise market trends can play a part in these potential closures; however these trends also reflect the regulatory environment in which industry must operate," Tomblin continued, promising to continue to fight to West Virginia’s mining jobs and urge the EPA to reconsider its proposed regulations.

These are not the first redundancies at Patriot’s operations. Earlier this year, the company made 75 workers redundant at its Boone County mine, while it has also closed its Logan County and Big Mountain mining complexes.

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