BRISTOL, Va. — Alpha Natural Resources announced plans Friday to idle a large coal mining operation, affecting 493 workers in Wayne County.
Alpha notified workers at its Camp Creek underground mine and prep plant that layoffs would occur in 60 days under the provisions of the WARN Act. The company cited declining market conditions in a news release announcing the move.
Alpha Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said there’s a persistent weakness in demand for coal in both the U.S. and overseas.
“This is an unprecedented time in the coal industry and Alpha continues to take difficult but necessary actions to ensure that our production is aligned with the reduced market demand we see today and anticipate in the future,” Crutchfield said in a statement. “These actions are consistent with steps we have taken in the past to build a smaller but more sustainable portfolio of mining assets across our operational footprint.”
Keith Hainer, Alpha’s executive vice president of mining operations, said the company is working to maintain flexibility.
“These are hard decisions because they affect good people, but these changes are necessary to help address the challenges that Alpha is facing,” Hainer said.
The Camp Creek complex is operated by Alpha subsidiary Rockspring Development.
Alpha made some layoffs at operations in Kentucky and Virginia last week impacting 71 workers.