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More coal layoffs possible in Southern W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Patriot Coal said Tuesday it is considering more layoffs at its Corridor G mining complex near Danville in Boone County.
The complex, which includes the Hobet 21 surface mine and the Beth Station preparation plant, employs 360 people and produced 2.3 million tons of coal in 2013, Patriot said.

St. Louis-based Patriot said that it had issued required “WARN” notifications under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, indicating that layoffs could come in 60 days.

Patriot President and CEO Ben Hatfield said that the combination of “increasing” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, mild summer weather and low natural gas prices has pushed prices for coal used in electricity generation to levels “below operating costs at many Appalachian mines.”

“Over the next two months, Corridor G management will further evaluate operations and staffing to assess their ability to produce coal at lower costs and determine the extent of actions to be taken,” Hatfield said in a press release. “We deeply regret the impact these actions will have on our hard-working employees and neighboring communities…

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