GRUNDY, Va. — The coal mining industry is being impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis as two mining operations, one in Buchanan County and the other in Wise County, have announced temporary closures.
Tarah Kesterson, public relations manager with the Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy (DMME), said Buchanan’s No. 1 mine, owned by Coronado Global Resources, is closing this week, with about 543 workers temporarily laid off.
“The mine will keep the longwall mining section crew working this week,” she said. “After that, only salaried staff will stay to maintain the mine. They tell us they have 750,000 tons of coal at their preparation plant and a small crew will load that coal onto trains weekly to fulfill orders.”
The mine produced almost 5 million tons of coal in 2019.
INMET mining is also closing its mining operations in Wise County due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, she said.
Kesterson said about 95 employees will be affected at the Osaka, Pigeon Creek, North Fork and D-31 mines, all in Wise County.
“They, too, will keep a few people on site to maintain the mine during this time,” she said. “Also on Monday, we were made aware that Polycor in Nelson County, is closing temporarily due to this virus. They employ three people.”