UPDATE: Coal Mine that Operates in 3 W.Va. Counties Closing, 314 Jobs Lost

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Patriot Coal says it's shutting down a surface mine in southern West Virginia as part of a strategy to concentrate production at lower-cost operations.

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper tells WSAZ.com the county received a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice that 314 people will lose their jobs.

St. Louis-based Patriot said Monday workers at its Samples mine have been notified that they will lose their jobs effective Oct. 5. According to the WARN notice, the layoffs are expected to be permanent.

"Our thoughts and support are with the families and employees of our community," Commissioner Carper said. "These are extremely high paying, quality jobs and for every such job that is lost, the spin-off is generally thought to be about 7 to 1. Or, in other words, for each of these jobs that are lost 6 to 7 other jobs are either lost or significantly affected in other industries."

The Boone County mine is operated by subsidiary Catenary Coal Co. and has an annual production of about 2.5 million tons. The property spans across Kanawha, Boone, and Raleigh counties.

Patriot CEO Richard M. Whiting says closing the Samples mine will allow the company to keep reserves until coal prices improve.

According to the WARN notice, The Samples Mine and highwall operation employs 239 hourly and salaried individuals. This closure will also result in the termination of employment for hourly and salaried employees working at Catenary's Tom's Fork Loadout and Preparation Plant, warehouse, and office. A total of 75 employees work at these facilities.

Last week, Patriot lowered its production estimates to between 33 million and 35 million tons in 2009, down from 34 million to 36 million.

Patriot operates mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Click on the link below to read the WARN notice from Catenary Coal Company.

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