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Peabody announces PRB layoffs

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World Coal,

Troubled US coal miner, Peabody Energy, is to lay off 235 workers from its North Antelope Rochelle mine in the Powder River Basin (PRB) in order to “align the workforce with customer needs”.

“While out asset position and contracting strategies give us relative strength, we are taking these actions to match production with customer demand,” said Peabody President – Americas, Kemal Williamson.

“We regret the impact of these actions on our employees, their families and the surrounding communities in the Campbell and Converse county areas.”

The redundancies will impact about 15% of the mine’s workforce of 1150. In total, Peabody employs about 1500 at its PRB operations. “The company is taking steps to ease the transition through severance and outplacement support,” it said in a statement.

Shipments of US coal have fallen dramatically at the start of 2016 as high stockpiles at power plants, competition from natural gas and mild winter weather combine to reduce demand for thermal coal.

The US Energy Information Administration recently reported record coal stockpiles of 197 million short t at the end of 2015 – the highest year-end inventory in a quarter of century. Coal shipments by rail have been down by about a third since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, according to Peabody, heating days are 17% lower so far this year compared to 2015 with heating days in March down nearly 30% compared to the 10-year average.

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