MADISON – Boone County and West Virginia’s coal industry received more bad news Friday when the Boone County Commission was notified that 160 coal mining jobs would be lost in August.
“This is terrible news,” said Boone County Commission President Mickey Brown. “I feel sorry for the families that this is going to hurt.”
Commissioners received notice Friday that a total of 160 mine employees will be losing their jobs.
A total of 17 employees at Independence Coal Company, Inc. and 143 employees at Spartan Mining Company will lose their jobs on Aug. 6, 2013, or within the two-week period after that date, according to the “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act Notice” from Alpha Natural Resources.
The company sited “current adverse market conditions” for its plans to idle its entire Allegiance Mine, Cook Mine and Justice No. 1 Mine, which are all located in Seth, and to reduce its production at the Liberty Processing Plant on Robinson Creek Road in Madison. The letter was from L. David Asbury, vice president of Spartan.
“Shutting down a mine and sending good people home is the last thing we want to do, but due to tough coal market conditions, we're having to adjust our operations,” said Samantha Davison, a corporate communications spokeswoman for Alpha Natural Resources.
Davison said company officials will be meeting with employees next week to go over the pay and benefits they will receive if they are part of the reduction in force.
“We just keep getting battered by the current market situation in the coal industry and the stricter EPA standards,” Brown said. “This will mean a loss in revenue for the county, but the worst thing about this is the harm it will do to these families. Good jobs are hard to come by in this area, so the loss of any jobs is horrible news.”