188 laid off at CONSOL's Buchanan Mine - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

188 laid off at CONSOL's Buchanan Mine

BUCHANAN COUNTY (WVVA) - CONSOL Energy is laying off 188 employees at its Buchanan Mine as it reduces production to two shifts per day.

The decision was made based on the current global met coal market conditions, according to a news release from the company.

The release quotes Jimmy Brock, CONSOL Chief Operating Officer - Coal Division, in stating that the mine is "well-positioned for a return to higher production levels when market demand and pricing rebound."

Workers were notified of the cuts Friday.

Following is the news release from CONSOL:

PITTSBURGH (May 2, 2014) – CONSOL Energy has announced it will reduce the operating schedule at its Buchanan Mine in southwest Virginia to two production shifts per day effective immediately.

The announcement is in keeping with first quarter earnings results reported earlier this week, and previous guidance issued which noted that the company was prepared to exert continued production discipline, as needed, to align with current global met coal market conditions. The action will result in the lay-off of 188 employees, including 39 salaried employees and 149 hourly employees. Employees were notified of the operating schedule change earlier today. The mine will operate with two production shifts per day, down from three. Third shift operations will be limited to maintenance activities.

“Earlier this year, we completed work on a $24 million hoist upgrade project to increase efficiency at our Buchanan Mine,” commented CONSOL Energy Chief Operating Officer – Coal Division Jimmy Brock. “The mine is well-positioned for a return to higher production levels when market demand and pricing rebound.”

Buchanan’s longwall mine typically produces approximately 400,000 tons per month of metallurgical grade coal used in steelmaking. Buchanan shipped 1.1 million tons in the first quarter, 489,000 tons of which were distributed to Chinese customers. Production at the mine will be adjusted as a result of the operating schedule changes.

While on the demand side, thermal coal demand has improved, met coal demand, particularly in Asia, has been slower to recover. The scheduling change is being made to control inventories and to align with metallurgical coal demand. The company will continue to monitor market conditions and respond accordingly.

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