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Optimism abounds with new Illinois longwalls

THE fortunes of many Illinois miners turned the corner this week with American Coal Company announcing it will recall 337 miners to its Galatia mine as the operation expands to three longwall sections, and about 350 miners will gain employment once Williamson Energy develops its Sugar Camp Energy mine.

Angie Tomlinson
Optimism abounds with new Illinois longwalls

Just over a year ago American Coal laid off 404 employees (40% of staff) from its Galatia mine and closed the Millennium Portal – electing to permanently close its No. 5 seam and opting to open its No. 6 seam in the future.

At the time company president Robert Murray said the staff reduction was temporary and the company regretted the lay-offs but “adverse mining conditions left us no choice."

American Coal Company has now opened is third longwall section, coined New Future, to replace the old Millennium Portal.

The miners will be called back over a period of six months as the sections ramp up.

Galatia, a 17,000-acre operation with a reserve of 125 million tons, opened in 1980 and is the fourth largest US coal producer with an annual output of 8.5Mt.

Meanwhile, Cline Group subsidiary Williamson Energy Development announced it would develop a mine north of Akin.

Williamson Energy vice-president James Morris said Sugar Camp Energy will employ 350 miners at full capacity and their average annual income will be about $45,000, compared to an average $26,000 annual income for Franklin County workers in general, The Southern reported.

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