PBS Coals extends holiday stoppage

PENNSLYVANIA producer PBS Coals is blaming the domestic and international markets for its decision to discontinue operations completely for two weeks.
PBS Coals extends holiday stoppage PBS Coals extends holiday stoppage PBS Coals extends holiday stoppage PBS Coals extends holiday stoppage PBS Coals extends holiday stoppage

Courtesy PBS Coals/Severstal Resources.

Donna Schmidt

An official, however, insists rumors of a permanent closure are false.

The stoppage, effective November 17, will extend through December 2. It impacts PBS’ surface and deep mines as well as its two preparation facilities.

Because the company normally idles operations for a few days over the US Thanksgiving holiday, public relations director Hanke Parke told local newspapers the Daily American and the Tribune-Review the move was made to extend that existing plan.

“It’s quite slow – slow orders, slow economy,” he said.

“This is being extended by about a week just to try and adjust to the market. Both domestic and international coal markets continue to be very soft."

He also told the papers that reports and rumors the producer was shutting down permanently were not true.

“[The break] is just a little longer this time,” he said.

PBS Coals, owned by Russian operator Severstal Resources, employs about 800 people at 15 operations and facilities almost exclusively in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

The company laid off 225 employees in July, citing market conditions and increased regulatory pressure from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

It also adjusted production schedules at the rest of its operations.

The mines affected were its Rox Coal operations, including the Horning deep mine; Friedens surface mine; Berwind Lohr surface mine; Rhodes II surface mine; and Hart surface mine.

Officials said at the time they believed the changes would be permanent.

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