CHARLESTON — Blackhawk Mining LLC and its subsidiaries announced Tuesday the idling of three underground coal mines and two preparation plants in Logan and Mingo counties, affecting almost 350 employees.

The affected operations are:

  • Washington Underground Mine, Logan County
  • Muddy Bridge Underground Mine, Logan County
  • Buffalo Underground Mine, Logan County
  • Fanco Preparation Plant and Loadout, Logan County
  • Mingo 1 Preparation Plant and Mingo 2 (Scaggs) Loadout, Mingo County

The company is also idling operations at the No. 8 Underground Mine, a contract mine in Mingo County.

The mine closures will result in the immediate issuance of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN”) notices to 342 employees. Each affected employee will be encouraged to apply for open positions elsewhere within the company, according to a news release. Permanent workforce reductions associated with the WARN notice are expected in early December.

The idled operations primarily produce metallurgical coal for sale to domestic and international coke makers and steel producers. In 2018, the mines produced approximately 1.3 million metric tons of coal. Recent weakness in global coal markets, and the corresponding drop in prices to three-year lows, is the reason for the company’s decision, according to the release.

The layoffs came just four days after Cambrian Coal in nearby Pike County, Kentucky laid off around 200 workers after selling the mine to Pristine Clean Energy, according to WYMT.

Mark Campbell, the president of Booth Energy Group at the Pike County branch of Cambrian Coal said in a letter that “under the sale agreement, Cambrian will terminate employment of all employees and Pristine will rehire employees as needed.”

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.