More coal mining layoffs announced

By Fred Pace

August 13, 2014

Just when you think the coal mining layoffs can’t get any worse, they do.

Coal River Mining and Coal River Processing announced Aug. 12 that it intends to idle operations in Alum Creek and Julian, West Virginia resulting in 280 layoffs.

The WARN notice sent to Kanawha County commissioners from Coal River Mining and Coal River Processing states that the company plans to idle and/or conduct workforce reductions at several operations in early October as a result of “weak coal demand and government regulations that continue to challenge its operations,” according to a Coal River news release.

Coal River Mining plans to idle and reduce workforce at Fork Creek Mine 3, Fork Creek Mine 10, both of which are underground mines, Surface Mine 67 and the entire administrative office for surveyors and other support personnel in Alum Creek, and Surface Mine 9, located in Julian.

The workforce reductions will also affect Fork Creek Mine 1, an underground mine located in Alum Creek, where operations were entirely idled by Coal River Mining on a previous date.

Coal River Processing plans to idle the entire plant, the entire warehouse and the entire administrative office for support personnel, which are all located in Alum Creek.

“Despite having issued the WARN notice, we will continue to try to find a market for our coal — in hopes that we can avoid some or all of the workforce reductions and the idling of some of our operations,” said Jim Bunn II, a Coal River managing member, in a statement.

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper distributed the layoff notice to media, and issued a statement that called Coal River Mining’s announcement “unsettling.”

“This is yet another difficult blow to the hardworking men and women of West Virginia,” Carper said in his statement. “Tragically, these layoffs impact more than miners. They will adversely affect family members, communities and businesses throughout our region. The continued loss of coal mining jobs, in Kanawha and the surrounding counties, is unacceptable and must come to an end.”

(Fred Pace is the Editor for the Coal Valley News. He can be contacted at or at 304-369-1165, or on Twitter @fcpace62)