CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP & WSAZ) -- Patriot Coal plans to cut production at two mining complexes in southern West Virginia and potentially lay off workers.
St. Louis-based Patriot announced Wednesday that it has issued 60-day layoff notices to workers at its Wells mining complex near Wharton and its Corridor G complex near Danville.
The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act requires companies to provide notice to employees if large layoffs are possible.
Patriot employs 450 workers at the Wells complex and 397 workers at the Corridor G complex.
Patriot president and CEO Bennett K. Hatfield says in a news release that the company needs to align its production with expected sales.
"These actions are an unfortunate but necessary step to align Patriot's production with expected sales," said Patriot President and Chief Executive Officer Bennett K. Hatfield. "Both metallurgical and thermal coal markets continue to be challenging, with pricing at levels well below production costs at many Central Appalachian mines. Despite the savings we achieved in our reorganization, the production costs of these mines exceed today's depressed prices, necessitating these actions."
During the 60 day period, mine management at both locations will be evaluating operations and staffing to assess their ability to produce coal at a cost below projected sales prices, according to the news release.
Company leaders also say the scope of the anticipated downsizing will be communicated at the conclusion of that process.