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WV Coal Association sees hard times for Appalachian coal industry

Steel News - Published on Mon, 02 Jul 2012

State Journal reported that as job layoffs were announced by the hundreds in the past few days in West Virginia coalfields, Mr Chris Hamilton VP of the West Virginia Coal Association, said about 2,000 jobs have been shed in the past two months.

The reason, he said, is primarily a weak market and regulatory hurdles, but geologic challenges and competition from other sources of coal also are hurting the state\'s production.

Mr Hamilton said “There have been a number of layoffs around the valley, around the state, probably on the order of magnitude, all told, over 2,000 mining jobs that have been removed from the economy and from our industry. It\'s hit a number of companies, there\'s been nobody saved from the situation we find ourselves in with a depressed market and continued lower pricing, as well as environmental regulation taking hold at the same time.”

Mr Hamilton said the Coal Association is taking a closer look at the types of mines that are being closed.

He said layoffs predominantly are happening at mines producing steam coal although metallurgical coal producers are facing fewer market challenges.

He said “We have a depressed market. We just came out of an unseasonably mild winter, so there\'s a lot of coal underground. We\'re also facing fierce competition with the limited markets of today. Coupled with that, we just have a whole barrage of environmental regulations that is becoming more and more mature and impacting operations on the ground.”

Consol announced more than 300 layoffs June 29. That announcement came on the heels of announcements by Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources in the past 10 days that the two companies were shutting down other mines in West Virginia. Each of those announcements involved approximately 100 jobs.

Coal in US suffers from a number of problems. One of the most difficult for the industry to face is a market that is increasingly favoring cheap and abundant natural gas for power production.

Source - State Journal

(www.coalguru.com)

Posted By : admin on Mon, 02 Jul 2012
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