Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 9, 2013

Buchanan mine lays off 90 mine workers

JEWELL RIDGE, Va. — A company official cited a downturn in the coal industry Friday when announcing the layoff of 90 miners at a Buchanan County mine.

Dominion No. 36 Mine in Buchanan County, Va., has been affected “by the significant downturn in the coal market,” said James M. Mullins, vice president of coal operations, SunCoke Energy, Inc.

“As a result, we are forced to idle Dominion Mine 36 and lay off 51 company miners and 39 underground contractors,” Mullins said Friday in his announcement. “This decision was very difficult and we have worked hard to reduce costs in every other aspect of our coal operations. But the business challenges in the coal industry left us with no choice.”

“We are continuing production in our four remaining active Dominion mines with a continued focus on what we can control, including managing our costs, optimizing our production, and making safety our top priority,” Mullins stated in the release. “We believe this focus, combined with the actions we have taken today, will help us meet the tough economic challenges we face this year.”

Buchanan County Administrator Craig Horn said the layoffs would have some impact on the local economy. It is difficult to know where all the miners live, but the layoff will affect them and their families, he stated.

“We were already planning a shortfall of revenue in the county, and this will cause it to be just a little bit more,” Horn said. “It shouldn’t be a huge reduction in revenue.”

The miners may not be returning to work for SunCoke Energy anytime soon.

“Due to difficult market conditions, the layoffs are indefinite. The affected will be able to reapply if and when coal industry market conditions change,” Anna R. Rozenich, director of communications for SunCoke Energy, said when she replied to an email request from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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