Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 26, 2014

Alpha Natural Resources idles Cherokee Mine in Dickenson County

HAYSI, Va. — Alpha Natural Resources announced on Thursday that it has idled the Cherokee Mine located near Haysi in Dickenson County, Va. The mine opened in 1997, became part of the Dickenson Russell Coal Co., and was acquired by Alpha in 2002.

An Alpha spokesperson said that the mine has about 115 employees. Of that number, about 50 will remain and work toward removing equipment and infrastructure at the mine. The spokesperson speculated that the work will likely go on until September.

The remainder of the workforce — about 65 people — went home on Thursday and will receive 60 days of pay until their official layoff date. The WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act required  companies to give a 60-day notification when it has mass layoffs.

The Cherokee Mine produced less than 300,000 tons of coal last year and production was steadily declining, the spokesperson said. The mine closure is expected to be permanent.

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., expressed sadness that the Cherokee Mine is closing. “Hardworking Americans, their families and our communities need the jobs that these mines provide,” Griffith was quoted in a press release as stating. He encouraged individuals impacted by the layoffs to contact his Abingdon or Christiansburg, Va., office for possible assistance and to receive a resource packet.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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