Consol Energy has told officials and workers that it will idle a West Virginia surface mine and lay off approximately 145 employees starting at the end of the year.
The Cecil-based coal and natural gas company blamed the idling on permit delays that have slowed necessary environmental permit approval at its Miller Creek operations.
It said it has been working on securing permits related to the Clean Water Act since November 2007, and said it continues to work through permit delays. Underground operations at the site will not be affected.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its objection to one of the company's Clean Water Act permits earlier this week, but Consol said that move alone wouldn't allow it to start work.
The Miller Creek complex has produced 1.55 million tons of coal so far this year. Operations affected by the layoffs include the Wiley Surface Mine, Wiley Creek Surface Mine, Minway Surface Mine, Minway Preparation Plant and Miller Creek Administration Group. All are located in Mingo County, W. Va., which is in the southwestern part of the state and borders Kentucky.
The layoffs will occur during a two-week period beginning December 30.
Earlier this year, Consol had to idle several mines due to a tempered international market and machinery malfunctions. The slowdowns led to Consol posting a net loss of $11 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the first quarterly loss at the company since 2007.
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