UPDATE: United Mine Workers of America International Staff Rep Gary Taje confirms the layoffs affect 200 hourly staff and management. He says the decision comes from a slump in the coal market and company’s inability to get a new mine started this winter.
“They have a new mine starting called 4 Seam which has had some problems with its high wall and the company has to satisfy Occupational Health & Safety and us that they can do this safely and they have been unable to do that to date; they are working on it.”
The current mine should reach the end of its life in the next few months. Taje says the shutdown could last anywhere from 6 months to two years and the UMWA Local 2009 will be helping the laid off workers with their resumes and job research.
220 workers at the coal mine in Grande Cache will be out of a job come Christmas eve. Grande Cache Coal President and CEO Max Wang says they has notified employees working on the operations side of things that their jobs have been eliminated in order for the company to cut back on spending.
Wang says that the continuing decline of the coal market has discouraged the company from putting any more money into the mine at this time. A technical team of 30 employees will stay on to maintain the status of the facility as Wang says he hopes to be able to resume operations at the mine in the future.
Another 250 employees were let go from the mine in January of this year when Grande Cache Coal decided to stop operating it’s strip mine and coal cleaning plant.