Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 7, 2013

James River Coal idling mines, reducing production

RICHMOND, Va. —  James River Coal Co. is idling mines and reducing coal production by 3 million tons in response to weak demand.

The Richmond-based company mines thermal coal used for power generation and metallurgical coal that’s used to produce steel. It has operations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana.

In reporting a fourth-quarter loss Thursday, James River said it has idled five underground mines, two preparation plants and one load-out facility. It also has reduced production at three surface mines.

The company says the moves impact about 400 employees and contractors.

Coal producers are being hit by a double whammy of weak demand. Utilities need less coal to produce electricity because of mild weather and lower power generation, while construction overseas has slowed the appetite for coal to make steel.

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