Arch's Imperial going idle

MORE bad production news came on Wednesday in the form of Arch Coal’s decision to idle its Imperial mine in southern West Virginia but there was one piece of positive news: no layoffs are expected to come of it.
Arch's Imperial going idle Arch's Imperial going idle Arch's Imperial going idle Arch's Imperial going idle Arch's Imperial going idle

Courtesy Arch Coal

Donna Schmidt

Arch Coal spokesperson Kim Link said the mine in Upshur County would close due to market conditions and lack of demand, though the producer planned to reopen it when conditions improved.

About 10 of Imperial’s 50 workers will remain at the mine and the remaining 40 will be transferred to Arch’s Leer operation in Grafton.

Leer is projecting a need for more than 200 additional workers over the next six months.

Both Imperial and Leer are underground room and pillar operations. Imperial is in a complex with the Sycamore 2 operation.

It is not the first mine closure Arch has suffered this year.

In late June officials confirmed it would close several Appalachian operations and cut 750 employees from its payroll.

Arch subsidiaries opted to close three higher-cost thermal mining complexes and associated preparation plants, temporarily idle the Flint Ridge complex in Kentucky and curtail production at other operations in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Eastern and Knott County complexes in Kentucky also bore the brunt of the widespread shutdown, seeing almost 600 worker layoffs.

At the time Arch president and chief executive John Eaves said the decision to reduce personnel was made only after exhaustively reviewing other options.

“We sincerely regret the impact this announcement will have on our employees and their families as well as on the local communities where we operate,” he said.

“This decision was difficult but necessary in order to weather the current downturn and to position the company for long-term success.”

According to Arch’s data, it is a top-five coal producer and marketer globally with 157 million tons of coal sold in 2011 and more than 20 active mining complexes across every major US coal supply basin.

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