PITTSBURGH (AP) — Consol Energy Inc. said Friday it will lay off 318 employees and suspend operations at a West Virginia coal mine at the end of August.
The Pittsburgh-based coal and natural gas producer said its Fola complex near Bickmore, W.Va., will be idled due to a decline in energy demand this year. Increased federal environmental regulations also have increased mining costs and uncertainty about whether its U.S. customers would continue to buy coal, Consol said.
"The decision to idle our Fola operations is a difficult one, but in an effort to manage our inventory and to balance coal production with expected utility demand and shipping schedules, we are faced with making adjustments which unfortunately will impact our workforce," Consol president Nicholas DeIuliis said in a statement.
The company said overall coal production would be cut by 800,000 tons this year.
Consol's layoffs follow similar jobs cuts at rivals Arch Coal Inc. and Alpha Natural Resources Inc. Earlier this month, Arch said it would let go of about 750 miners across Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Alpha also announced this month it would cut about 150 jobs after curtailing operations in Kentucky
The company would not say how much the Fola shutdown will cost. It estimated that the mine contributes $165 million to the local economy.
Consol said the layoffs will take place over two weeks starting on Aug. 30. They'll include surface, reclamation, underground, and general office staff jobs.
Shares rose 29 cents, to $29.60 in morning trading.