Even as its subsidiary company, Amfire Mining, plans the public meeting tonight to reveal plans for a new coal mine in northern Indiana County, parent corporation Alpha Natural Resources today announced plans to close eight mines and lay off 400 miners. One of those mines is in Pennsylvania, but the company is not naming the mines that will close until it notifies all of the employees that they are losing their jobs.
The mine shutdowns will be immediate. They are part of a plan to lay off 1,200 Alpha Natural Resources workers nationwide. Four of the mines are in West Virginias and three are in Virginia. All are non-union mines. Amfire operates six mines in Indiana, Cambria, and Jefferson counties.
Alpha CEO Kevin Crutchfield blamed the layoffs on the continuing shift of power plants to other fuels and the Obama administration’s increasingly restrictive regulations governing coal and power plants which burn it.
While the layoffs are market-driven for that type of coal, the layoffs are not expected to impact metallurgical coal mines such as the one planned for South Mahoning and West Mahoning townships. Crutchfield says the market for that type of coal is undersupplied and he expects to see demand grow by more than 100 million tons before 2020.