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Consol Energy to lay off 147 workers

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Consol Energy Inc. said Friday that it will cut 147 jobs as it completes the closure of its Little Eagle Mine near Bickmore, W. Va.

The coal and natural gas company, based in Pittsburgh, will lay off 131 surface and office employees and 16 employees at Little Eagle Deep Mine. The layoffs will occur during a two week period that begins Feb. 14. Employees were told about the changes Friday.

Consol said earlier this year that it would lay off 318 employees and reassign the remaining 147 employees from mining to reclamation work as it began its process of idling operations at the mine.

The company has cited market conditions and pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency as reasons for its decision. It is one of a number of coal companies to idle operations and cut staff on weaker demand for coal.

Consol said the domestic market for coal remains soft due to the weak economy and customers' inability to accept committed coal shipments. The company said it is hopeful that coal markets will normalize in the second half of 2013 and that it can review the status of its operations there.

Shares fell 11 cents to close at $33.70.