Opinion, WVPA Sharing

Editorial: More unemployed W.Va. coal mine workers being called back

From the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

In another sign of life for the coal industry, Komatsu Mining Corp. (formerly Joy Global) has called back 65 workers and will hire 15 more due to a “uptick in work in the mining industry.”

The workers were called back on the job last week. The new workers that will be hired will fill positions ranging from certified welders to general laborers, said Caley Clinton, global public relations manager with Komatsu Mining based in Milwaukee, Wis.

“Most of the new positions are going to be for certified welders and a couple of general laborers,” Clinton said, adding that an “uptick in work in the mining industry” created the need for the workers. “We are seeing customers ordering new equipment again or parts. During the downturn in the mining industry they used what they had.”

Clinton said the increase in demand is not necessarily from the coal industry, but the mining industry in general, and around the world.

“We provide equipment and services in a wide variety of mining operations,” she said, adding that mineral mining has seen an increase but “it’s not any one of them, just a general uptick in the mining industry. Overall, our customers are starting to move again in placing orders.”

The Trump administration’s welcomed support for coal, and fossil fuels in general, is fueling renewed confidence within the industry.

Anytime unemployed workers are called back on the job, it is good news for our region.

We realize that coal production in the area may never reach the same levels as years ago, during the peak of the coal industry here in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. And no one is claiming that the mining industry will be resurrected overnight.

But here is the point that is all too often overlooked in the national conversation about coal. Every coal mine that reopens, and every coal miner who is called back to work, is helpful to our local economy. The same goes for related service industry positions similar to those provided by Komatsu Mining Corp. These are unemployed workers who are returning to the workforce, and new positions that are being created.

You won’t see us complain when an unemployed coal miner or industry professional is called back. And we won’t gripe when workers are hired for new positions within the industry. Every coal miner and industry professional who returns to the workforce will help our regional economy.

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