The weekend announcement by Tulsa-based Alliance Resources means a total of about 600 coal miners in western Kentucky and southwest Indiana have lost their jobs or will lose them in the coming months.
At least 184 jobs were cut in the weekend announcement by Alliance coal which said it was shutting down production at the Gibson County, Indiana mines.
Since August, WARN notices, those which told employees their jobs would be lost in coming weeks, were issued to miners at four locations.
Peabody announced plans to permanently close its Somerville Central Mine in October and 128 miners were left out of work.
“They have not closed, but they did cut back on their employees,” Gibson County Commissioner Steve Bottoms told WFIE TV News. “And I do know some of them they have went to other jobs.”
In the weekend announcement by Alliance, it blamed a drop in demand for coal.
“They were polite enough to pay us through the middle of January, so it’s not like we’re not going to have a paycheck,” miner William Hastie shared with the TV station. “But, most of us don’t live on a 40-hour lifestyle. So, we’re just hoping for the best. It’s a lot of people displaced.”
It’s not just southwest Indiana facing coal closures. Western Kentucky has also dished out hundreds of WARN notices.
Alliance Coal also stopped operations at Dotiki mine in Webster County in August. Officials said this would allow them to focus on maximizing production at its lower cost mines in the Illinois Basin. With weak market conditions, they say they were left with no choice.
“It’s probably coal sales, and that can be cyclical,” Bottoms added. “Hopefully, they’ll get some other contracts and be able to bring these people back.”
The next month, in September, McLean County’s Pennyrile Rhino Mine sent warn notices too. 169 employees in all were expected to lose their jobs after it was sold to Alliance Resource Partners.
“I’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again where they will go into other jobs,” Bottoms explained. That’s the bright spot. Our region has some of the lowest employment, not just in the state, but the nation.”
Commissioner Bottoms added in Gibson County, companies such as Toyota, VuTeq along with Alcoa have job openings. Having a CDL license could also help get a person back to work quickly.
Federal data showing U.S. coal consumption year-to-year indicates a steady decline since 2013, and it’s not expected to get better. Numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show consumption for 2019 is on pace to decline again.
Source: WFIE TV.