Dugout not laying off miners
An event at the Dugout Mine last week created a stir in the state and national media, but has turned out to be at this point a small blip in the operations of the mine, according to mine officials.
When detection equipment spotted increased levels of carbon monoxide in an area of the mine that was being sealed off because it was mined out there was concern about a fire. However, no fire was detected although reports say that a hot spot in the "gob" showed that there may be some kind of combustion going on.
Mine operators reportedly are going to continue with sealing operations of that part of the mine. Whether it will be flooded to put out the hot spot or not is still up in the air.
The situation raised predictions that the mine would have to lay off most of its work force. However the company says that is not something they are planning to do at this point.
"No one has been laid off," said Kim Link a spokesperson for Arch Coal, when she spoke to the Sun Advocate on Wednesday morning. "We are sealing off that part of the mine and workers have been redeployed to work in other areas."
Even if production had to be halted for a while the company reportedly has enough inventory to take care of contracts for supplying coal without operations going at normal levels within the mine.
Arch Coal, the owner of the mine, produces more coal in the United States than all but one other producer. The mine employes between 270-280 workers. The mine produces around 200,000 tons of coal a month.