ALUM CREEK, W.Va. — Another southern West Virginia coal company has decided it can’t make it in the current climate.

Alum Creek-based Coal River Mining and Coal River Processing announced plans Tuesday to permanently layoff 280 workers in early October.

The mines impacted include two underground mines, Fork Creek 3, Fork Creek 10 near Alum Creek along with Surface Mine 67 and Surface Mine 9 near Julian. The company also plans to idle its processing facilities, warehouse and offices.

“I think it was everybody on the property,” West Virginia Coal Association Bill Raney said.

Coal River sent WARN notices to the county commission offices in Boone, Lincoln and Kanawha counties Tuesday.

Parent company Coal River Energy blames the layoffs on “weak coal demand and government regulations.”

Raney said laws, policies and rules that are unique to West Virginia have raised the cost of production.

Coal River Managing Member Jim Bunn II said the company hopes to find a market for its coal so the company “can avoid some or all of the workforce reductions and the idling of some of our operations,” Bunn said in a prepared statement. “We cannot change all of the various issues that affect our industry, but we can focus on our personal safety and the safety of our co-workers.”

The layoff announcement follows similar decisions in recent weeks from large and small coal producers much of it tied to price and federal EPA regulations both for mining and clean air. Only one company, Cliffs Natural Resources in Wyoming County, has backed off from layoff plans and that was due to a management change.

Raney said West Virginia needs to take the lead in fighting for coal.

“It’s going to cost us a little more to do things at the power plants–in order to preserve our industry,” he said. “Because if this industry disappears from West Virginia you’re talking about an economic mess.”

Coal River’s announcement came the same day as two natural gas transmission companies announced plans for a $1 billion new pipeline project that will get its start in Marshall County.

“That’s a great investment but you can compare that to 280 people getting a WARN notice and I would be surprised if there’s ever 280 people that work on that pipeline,” he said.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Jim

    @Dumb liberal, did you ever stop and think
    How bout you blame the big coal guys who have come in and made big money and lined their pockets, they are the ones that dont care about you. They got what they wanted and left a mess .
    How about a thanks a lot Don Blankenship

    • Dumb Liberals

      Jimbo the Dumbo, try taking a course in business. Businesses operate to make the owner/board money, not for the employee. The employee is nothing more than a tool. That's called profit line. Without turning a profit, business does not exist. Keep blaming business! Without a profitable business, you are unemployed. The current liberal democrat run government is the biggest environmental hoax that has ever been perpetuated upon the free market place. The only thing they have provided is unemployment lines. Keep blaming everyone else but your own stupidity. One of these days you might understand the food chain.

  • Natural gas

    We all were so happy to see natural gas workers from Oklahoma and Texas spend countless months in WV drilling for gas. What we didn't realize was those were the jobs that would ultimately take the coal jobs. Natural gas and the employees in that field are coals biggest enemies. Wake up people.

  • Hillybilly

    How do you like your change now , FOOLS .

  • CaptainQ

    Bet Obama's EPA is rejoicing over this news! For that matter, the Democratic Party outside of WV is probably cheering too.

    • Dumb Liberals

      Tennant and the in-state demos are cheering loudly too.

      • CaptainQ

        In PRIVATE, of course...

  • Dumb Liberals

    280 democratic voters that will still vote for the m0r0n's banner carriers like Tennant, cousin Earl Ray, and the other liberal demos that put them out of work. Yep, you sure can trust their Gestapo! Thank ole carpetbagger Jay too.

  • Jack Mehoff

    You can also thank all the people that made shady deals under the table to allow natural gas drilling into a state that's livelihood is coal mining.

  • A WV coal miner

    Mr. Karstons please make sure you have plenty of room for me and my family to move in when I loose my job. I mean this in the kindest are a real jerk sir!!!

  • Gary Karstons

    Another step closer to cleaner air. Ahhh

    • Jordan

      Gary apparently your not from wv and you have never mined a ton of coal in your life. When you do that it gets in your blood and that's all you want to do.

      280 and some guys is gonna loose there jobs and your on here running your mouth about another step to cleaner air. I bet you voted for oblama and you probably don't work a day in your life

    • Jack Mehoff

      Gary your not very smart to make the comment you made and then use your full name,GARY KARSTONS.

    • hillbilly

      It would also be a lot cleaner if you stopped driving your car Gary... think of all the CO and CO2 it puts out...

    • Pickle Barrel

      Yeah, never mind the fact that 280 West Virginians will be out of work. Happy now, Mr. Karstens?

  • Supply and Demand

    Cheap gas has flooded the market forcing the coal industry to lower prices. Essentially pricing themselves out of business. With the increase in natural gas an influx of thousands of new gas generated positions. The market only requires so much energy. And the sector only supports so many jobs. The enemy of coal is natural gas. Crunch the numbers.

  • Supply and Demand

    Cheap gas has flooded the market forcing the coal industry to lower prices. Essentially pricing themselves out of business. With the increase in natural gas an influx of thousands of new gas generated positions. The market can only requires so much energy. And the sector only supports so many jobs. The enemy of coal is natural gas. Crunch the numbers.

    • Aaron

      If you believe coal is "Essentially pricing themselves out of business" I would suggest you look at the long term EIA projections for energy production by source.

  • tom

    They want about 300.00 to 400.00 dollars a ton. ,right now the market is flooded and the price is probably around 60.00 to 80.00 a ton.

  • Benthere

    In every one, of these layoff announcements.....the phrase at the beginning of each statement is, "weak coal demand and then government regulations". So what is the break down? 50/50, 60/40, 70/30 or the reverse. Jeff Jenkins please ask that questions when reporting this information. It helps frame the issue and gives everyone a better understanding.

    • The bookman

      What impacts coal demand? If it's met coal it is economic activity. If it is thermal coal it is energy usage and fuel choice. Given that the Eastern US has been cooler than recent summers I would suggest energy usage is lower. I would also suggest that utilities are choosing gas over coal where ever possible given the price and efficiency of gas. But to assume that government regulation isn't pushing the demand for coal downward and forcing the transition of coal to gas generation is less than accurate. So segregating the two issues is impossible.

      A better question would be what portion of decreased demand is attributable to non governmental forces. I would say that is very difficult to quantify given how deeply the Federal Government is involved in restructuring our national energy paradigm. They touch it in so many ways. If you had a billion dollars, and were aware of this Administration's anti coal stance, would you gamble on coal's survival or NG price?

      • Barry Bledsoe

        When it comes to competition, all is fair. Such is the case when it comes to competition between coal and gas. But it stops being fair competition when the government ties both hands of coal behind its back. Again, government deciding that coal is the loser and gas is the winner. For now. As soon as they kill coal, gas will be the next job maker in it's sights.

        • Pickle Barrel


  • Jim N Charleston

    Be sure to vote a straight democrat ticket, and UMWA give Cecil a lifetime contract.

    All I got
    I'm Jim N TX