PINEVILLE, W.Va. — MetroNews affiliate WJLS confirmed Thursday afternoon that the owners of the Pinnacle Mine in Wyoming County are in negotiations with a possible new owner.

County Circuit Clerk David Stover said it’s not clear what the chances are that the mine can be saved from closure, but he believed there was reason for optimism.

“I don’t know how it’s going to go, I don’t know that the people who are negotiating know how it’s going to go. All I know for real is that it is desperate times in the county, at least in the short run, if this thing closes,” said Stover, adding, “You can’t overstate how big it is in Wyoming County. If this were Kanawha or Cabell County, they’d fill it. But they have so many other things going on. We don’t.”

Stover cautioned that, if the unnamed possible buyer agrees to purchase the mine, the county likely won’t reap the benefits right away.

“Even if they sold today, and a purchaser wanted to mine coal as rapidly as he could, it would be long, long months before they start moving coal again. They’re that far away from getting the next longwall section ready to go,” said Stover.

There are seven active mines in Wyoming County, of which Pinnacle is the largest. If the mine closes, it will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs estimated to bring in about $25 million in wages, annually. Additionally, 73% of the tax money generated supports the county’s Board of Education.

The mine was expected to close at the end of this week, if a buyer could not be found.

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