PINEVILLE, W.Va. — Cliffs Natural Resources has issued a notice of preliminary plans to idle the Pinnacle Mine in Wyoming County at the end of August impacting 450 miners.

Wyoming County Commissioner Silas Mullins tells MetroNews he received a call from a Cliffs official Wednesday morning letting him know of the plans.

“The coal market is down and the steel market is down,” Mullins said.

Cliffs’ operation near Pineville produces metallurgical coal, used to make steel. It issued the required 60-day WARN notice Wednesday.

Cliffs spokesman Ryan Thorn said the decision is being driven by market conditions but the company is hopeful things will change.

“If something happens in the next 60 days we won’t have to take this action,” Thorn said.

Commissioner Mullins said mine is the largest in Wyoming County and the biggest severance tax producer.

“We’re going to lose a great deal of money from that,” the commissioner said. “Right now we are in an analytical mode to see what kind of impact there’s going to be on the county.”

He said if the layoffs go through it will probably hurt young miners the most.

“They buy a new car, buy a new house, a trailer, SUV or whatever, and as long as they were working everything’s fine. Now with these job losses it’s just going to have a trickle down effect,” Mullins said.

In a prepared statement from Cliffs, the company said it hopes the layoffs don’t happen but if they do the hope is they will only be temporary.

“Cliffs considers the Pinnacle Mine a world-class operation with a strong and productive workforce of mining professionals,” the statement said. “We understand the potential impact this could have on employees and will work with them during this uncertain time. Cliffs’ commitment to the health and safety of our employees and the environment remains top priority. We will continue to work on planned safety program and on-going environmental measures.”

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  • Fiscal Conservative

    They removed an offensive comment. Now my reply looks stupid

  • Richard

    This is just what every West Virginian gets and deserves for voting democrat. You only have to thank the late senator Byrd, and his friends Jay, jumping joe manchin and good ole boy nick.

    • Misty

      Wow how nice it must be to be so intelligent. Me and my family and our friends none of us vote Democratic. And we all live in WV. So before you go making assumptions you really need to think about what you are saying. My family and many many more are being wrongfully punished for the ignorance of others. And although I do not know what state you are from I am sure you are aware that you shouldn't be judged for the way your neighbors live? These are very hard working men and women. No laid sit on my rear jobs. This is hard and dangerous work that they do to provide. And my father who has worked since the age of 16 in the mines and knows nothing else is having to struggle to live. Sadly at age 60 and working 44 years he is a in to fight to just live. So with this being said do not judge.

  • Ole Sasquatch

    This is the worst President I can ever recall.

    • Fiscal Conservative

      Although I'm not very old, I am relatively well read in presidential history. Jimmy carter comes to mind, but the difference is Carter thought he was helping people. Which is much better than we have now.

      • Richard

        IF Carter was such a bad president, how is it there were more jobs created in his 4 years, than in Bush #1's presidency? Actually, there were more nearly 4 TIMES as many jobs Created by Carter.

        Actually, there were more jobs created in Carter's presidency than in Bush #2's in 8 years! Nearly 3 times as many.

        In point of fact, Carter's presidency of 4 years nearly DOUBLED the jobs created than Bush #1 and Bush#2 COMBINED did in 12 YEARS!

        And that's according to the Wall Street Journal, in an article entitled, "Bush on Jobs, the Worst Track Record on Record"

  • DNC

    I'm Nick Joe Rahall, and I approve this message, because southern WV'ians are too ignorant to realize that I'm screwing them over.

    Paid for by Cecil Roberts. Cause Cecil put the best interest of the coal miners first.

  • GregG

    One of these days people will pull their heads out of their backsides an accept the fact that the true impact on coal is the economy not some fictitious "War on Coal" that the media keeps harping about.

    • Pleaseee

      I wish the media would quit harping on Obama and his golf game. Like seriously, isn't playing golf 24/7, taking family trips to Hawaii, and working out in a hotel gym a presidential requirement?? I mean, America is running so smoothly right now. We have no drug problems, there hasn't been a murder in 2 seconds, all American children are fed and housed, no jail overpopulation. We have lots of money and jobs, no companies have shut down in 5 hours, and the government is on it's A game!

      We Rock!

    • FungoJoseph

      Just like all those "phony" scandals that are sinking the Obama presidency. Eh, GG?
      They are getting to numerous to count.
      Corruption, lawlessness, and liberals go hand in hand in hand.

  • rick

    This coal is for steel production...if they are not selling steel then they dont need the coal...nothing political here

  • Whip

    If you do not know the difference between Met coal and steam coal you should be locked out of the discussion. This type of coal is dependent on the production of steel. I haver never heard of this type of coal used in power production.

    • Whip

      Most of this coal is shipped out of the country. The 1980' s saw most the US steel industry shutdown, and the jobs go over seas. I'm not sure if this coal was used in US steel production? Does anyone know?

      • pc

        Yes, this mine was initially started by U.S. Steel Corporation in the late 60s and early 70s as part of what was then its massive Gary coal operations in McDowell and Wyoming counties. USS used this coal for its steel mills and when it divested/sold those coal holding, the subsequent owners, now Cliffs, have had to market the coal on the open market; hence, the overseas sale to foreign steel interests.

        • Worm

          Thanks for the information. The death of the American Steel industry still haunts.

      • jss

        Met. coal shipped overseas. Try to blame our President for that market decline.

        • Wowbagger

          They are acting to an extent to limit the development new port facilities and dredging older facilities to allow bigger ships.

        • Richard

          I sure can blame obama and the democrats they have done nothing to help this country but have only destroyed this economy.

        • Fiscal Conservative

          I can draw a link actually. With our economy still mostly in the tank we aren't using steel to build things. We also aren't financing business ventures overseas. Therefore lack of demand. Ha

          • jss

            We are not financing projects in our country. Thank the banks.

  • eric

    If your going to debate about the war on coal, you should at least know the difference between met coal and thermal coal.

    • The bookman


      Has little to do with Obama and the EPA and more to do with the global downturn in economies.

      • Wowbagger


        I am not happy with the administration's threats to steam coal, but as I recall the Pinnacle Mine is in one of a few big remaining reserves of No 3 Pocahontas (another is deep beneath the Eccles area, west of Beckley in Raleigh County). The Poky 3 in pretty much the whole region is a world renowned metallurgical coal and will ultimately be mined until no mineable coal remains. Regretfully there is not a lot left. Really good met coal and coke is also used for some niche applications not related to steel making, so what this really says is that global economic activity is in decline. The administration is not totally innocent of influencing this, but less directly than in steam coal applications.

  • Good News

    Glad to hear. Hope more mines close down. All they are worried about is tax money. Should have prepared for this decades ago. Go Obama and EPA. The war on coal is working. Kept up the good work. Now uneducated inbred coal miners. Will have to work for a real wage.

    • An actual athlete

      What would be your alternative power source? Since you obviously don't understand what kind of coal this is.

      • Ron t

        What????? I'm going to use electricity generated by coal not mined at pinnacle and has never been mined at pinnacle.

        • Fiscal Conservative

          Ron my comments were directed at a person who was saying the miners deserved to loose their jobs and that obama was pushing for a change in our economy.

    • Fiscal Conservative

      This one isn't completely based on obama and the epa attacking coal. Because the coal is used in manufacturing steel its more in tune with market ups and downs. You can say this is the work of obama because the economy still hasn't recovered, which hurts all of us you imbecile. BTW I know a lot of coal miners who are good people, not to mention do a job that most people are either to afraid or to soft to do. What is your career and why are you worried about how they make their money?

    • Harley

      What an ignorant comment. Are you trying to be sarcastic, or are you that uncaring about what this means to hundreds of people?

      • Ron t

        I care about these jobs. What about my post suggests in any way I don't care about jobs? I'm just stating the truth; people are making the potential job lay offs at pinnacle an issue related to declines because of e.p.a regulatory constraints and cheaper natural gas......But, the coal mined at pinnacle as clearly explained in the article is metallurgical not steam coal.

  • Jay D

    That is the payback for keeping the same political party entrenched for the last 100 years.

  • steve

    Thanks Obama!

  • reality check

    i'm sure that they're celebrating over at the Gazette. Nick Jo will put out a b.s. statement, and Natalie Tennant will still campaign with anit-coal Elizabeth Warren.

  • Hillbilly

    Well , on the bright side , maybe when the miners run out of food stamps and unemployment they can go out and pick some ramps and paw paw's for some extra cash .

    • Derek

      Sounds to me you have it all down what time do you get to the P O on check day pal. This is my job pal and a lot of very smart intelligent people work here.

  • Hillbilly

    Hey Jack , you all voted for the idiot in charge even though he ran an anti coal champagne you voted for the slick black man from Chicago . Now enjoy the benefits !! Fools !!!!

    • Jeff

      Obama did not win West Virginia. With 51% of the nation on goverment assistance a democrat will win everytime . EPA regulations effect both Steam and Met coal not to mention MSHA with their new regulations.

    • rock solid

      @hillbilly: Sir you are absoutly right! The sad part is that while everyone rants and raves about the mines closing, they are too stupid to understand that this collapse has been coming for generations. The state has gone from great to pathetic in the last 30 years while Charleston politicos have just feathered their nests and screwed the citizens over and over. No industry incentives to come to WVa via tax breaks, like all of our neighbors, N Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Penn.. Just the same old legislative crap, don't think forward, just keep the status quo and let me get mine, screw the future. Well now WVa is LAST in education in math and reading, LAST in quality of life, and now listed 48th in places to do business, and LAST for getting capital investment from the big boys to grow in the future. Way to go WVa you have forced all of your future leaders to leave the state and you are stuck with the dregs of welfare and drugs who are too lazy to try and succeed at anything but living off the system. You people have destroyed a great state, the good people are gone and won't be back, and you are too stupid to change. Just lay back and enjoy the flush down the toilet. You deserve it!

      • Misty

        Okay first off there is a lot of good people here. My husband my father and almost every man in my family are or have been a coalminer. Me and my husband have both worked since we where 17. I have never and would never vote for Obama. And it is ignorant people like you that make our state look so bad. There is a lot of good people still in this state. You have no right to down our state or the people in it. We live in a amazing state with some incredible people. And it is me that has to tell our children that the life that we have worked so hard to provide for them is going to end. We don't in any way deserve this. And I will never believe Obama actually got voted in fairly. So please if all you can do is get on here and criticize people please keep your opinion to yourself.

      • Worm

        +1 West Virginians have no one to blame but themselves.

    • U R Taxdollar

      Coal Champagne? Now this is what the country needs. Someone with the creativity to find another use for coal. Oh by the way, slick "black" man? Really? You want to go there and expect people to take you seriously? I don't particularly care for him myself but it has more to do with the job he's done than the color of his skin. Keep perpetuating the stereotype of the ignorant inbred WV hillbilly Hillbilly. I'm sure you're looking forward to cashing that welfare check next week and spending it on beer, cigarettes, and illegal fireworks.

      • Fiscal Conservative

        Don't mouth illigal fireworks. Its my right as an american to outdo the city on a yearly basis. Haha

    • Dr. Sarcasm

      WV didn't vote for him. Remember even a prisoner got more votes!

      • Wow

        The prisoner from Texas almost got more votes than Obummer, he didn't get more. Obummer did lose the general election, but we (WV) voted in all the other local Dumacrats, which turned out to be yes men for Obummer. Dumacrat control in Wv all these years and we are last in almost everything. The sad thing is is all the Dumacrat sheep will line up an vote a straight dumacrat ticket net time, unbelievable!!!

  • Dr. Sarcasm

    If anyone says there isn't a war on coal, they need b-slapped!