Last week Alpha Natural Resources announced it would be eliminating 59 positions at the Black Castle Surface Mine in Boone County and an affiliated trucking company, Trace Transport.
The company said it found other employment opportunities for approximately 12 of those people.
The announcement also included the permanent closing of two mines and a coal preparation plant in Logan County.
Virginia-based Alpha says it’s closing the Superior surface mine, the Hatfield underground mine and the Stirrat prep plant in Logan County, according to a report by the Associated Press.
That affects about 95 employees, 65 of whom have been offered other Alpha jobs. The 30 being laid off will stay on the payroll for 60 days, Pile said, but Alpha has no intention of reopening those operations.
Another 11 workers will lose their jobs at the Republic Surface Mine in Fayette County.
Altogether, about 100 people will be laid off, spokesman Ted Pile told the AP.
Another 80 workers will transfer to other Alpha operations.
The changes are effective immediately, company officials said.
The decisions are driven by a combination of low demand and low coal prices as consumption of cheap natural gas grows. Pile said new estimates on the number of coal-fired power plants being retired also rose this week, while coal stockpiles are at near-record levels.
The Black Castle mine, however, is being affected largely by global trade, officials added.
“The export coal market was really robust last year, and it dropped off substantially this year,” Pile said. “Coals produced in West Virginia and shipped to Europe are not competitive anymore.”
Last month, Alpha posted a first-quarter loss of $29.1 million due to weak demand for coal and rising costs. It said at the time it planned to reduce capital spending and further cut production.
Alpha has struggled to generate consistent profits since buying Massey Energy for $7.1 billion last summer.