MAN, W.Va. – Operations at Patriot Coal’s Logan County complex will soon be idled.
The company announced plans Tuesday to idle operations at their facility near Man and reduce thermal coal production by approximately two million annual tons.
The operations expected to be idled include the Guyan surface min and the Fanco preparation plant and rail load out.
In a statement released Tuesday, Patriot President and Chief Executive Officer Bennett Hatfield said the decision is a tough one but a necessary one to align Patriot’s production with expected sales.
“Despite the substantial progress being made in the Patriot reorganization, we still have to contend with the industry-wide challenge of coal prices that have fallen well below production costs at many Central Appalachian mines,” stated Hatfield.
The decision is expected to impact around 250 employees.
In his own statement, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil Roberts said the decision is disappointing, but not unexpected.
“The company had already announced its intention to close this complex in the near term, however the continued depression in the coal market led to this action being taken sooner,” stated Roberts.
Company officials said they are currently working to place impacted employees into open positions at other Patriot subsidiary operations. The company anticipates around 50 employees will be offered jobs at those locations.
Roberts said other employees will be eligible for retirement and will choose that path. He said this move shows the importance of the union to continue its fight against Arch Coal to secure long-term retirement health care benefits for its members.
“This is a former Arch Coal mine, and Arch made the promise of retiree health care to these miners and their spouses,” Roberts stated in the release. ”We will continue to work in Congress, argue in court, and march in the streets until our struggle for fairness and justice is won, and we have a long-term funding solution for their benefits.”
The facility is scheduled to be idled in two months. All impacted employees were notified of the decision Tuesday.