Last updated: August 13. 2014 1:16AM - 438 Views
By Ken Ward Jr. The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. (MCT)

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Alum Creek-based Coal River Mining LLC plans to cut 280 jobs at five mines and associated support operations because of “current adverse market conditions,” the company told government officials Tuesday.

The move involves three underground mines, two surface mines, a coal processing facility and related warehouse and office facilities, managing member James Bunn II said in notice sent to state and local agencies as required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Four of the mines affected are Fork Creek Mine 3, Fork Creek Mine 10, both underground operations; and Surface Mine 67 and the Surface Mine 9. The operations are located in Boone, Kanawha and Lincoln counties. Bunn said in his notification that the operations would be idled on Oct. 11 or within two weeks after that date.

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper distributed the layoff notice to media, and issued a statement that called Coal River Mining’s announcement “unsettling.”

“This is yet another difficult blow to the hard-working men and women of West Virginia,” Carper said in his statement. “Tragically, these layoffs impact more than miners. They will adversely affect family members, communities and businesses throughout our region. The continued loss of coal-mining jobs, in Kanawha and the surrounding counties, is unacceptable and must come to an end.”

In its letter, Coal River Mining said the layoffs also affect the two workers left at its Fork Creek No. 1 Mine, where operations were “entirely idled” by the company “on a previous date.”

Employment at Fork Creek No. 1 dropped from 165 in the first quarter of 2013 to 75 in the fourth quarter of 2013, and then to six in the first quarter of this year.

In November 2013, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration had issued a “pattern of violations” notice at Fork Creek No. 1, citing what it said was a significant number of violations and an audit that MSHA said showed the company was failing to report miner injuries.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazette.com, 304-348-1702 or follow @kenwardjr on Twitter.


(c)2014 The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, W.Va.)

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