Canyon Fuel's Dugout Canyon mine near Wellington eliminated 114 jobs Thursday in what its parent company called a "market driven" response to weak regional demand for coal.
Arch Coal, Inc., the owner of Canyon Fuel also indicated it intends to suspend longwall operations when it completes work on the current panel sometime during the first half of 2012.
The company stressed that the decision was no fault of the miners. "We regret the need to take this difficult action," said Paul A. Lang, executive vice president of operations, in a prepared statement.Â "We want to thank the hardworking employees at Dugout Canyon for their dedication and their strong commitment to running a safe and productive operation.Â We hope to retain most, if not all, of these valued members of the Canyon Fuel team - and plan to offer positions to the affected employees at operations within Arch's national network of mines."
Employees who fill open positions in other states will be given relocation assistance. The company will pay the employees who cannot relocate 60 days of wages and benefits as well as a severance package.
Arch, the nation's second largest producer of coal, also operates the Skyline Mine near Scofield and Sufco in Sevier County. The company owns mines in every major coal basin in the United States. Coal sales from Dugout Canyon totaled 2.3 million tons in 2010. "Although we are reducing production at Dugout Canyon at this time, we believe there may be additional opportunities for Utah coal in the future - both here at home and in the global marketplace," said Lang.Â
The next potential longwall panel has been developed and could be worked if and when market conditions improve, he said.
One miner who asked not to be identified, said the announcement came as a surprise to day shift workers who were called in for a meeting before the start of the day's work.
The Dugout reduction comes less than a year after Consol shut down its Emery Mine in December 2010.That closure affected 171 employees, effectively removing about $10 million in payroll from the local economy.
Last month, the Horizon Mine temporarily idled 53 when it encountered a geologic problem.