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Indiana: Webster County Official Discusses Economic Impact of Mine Closure



By Jared Goffinet and Joseph Payton

August 10, 2019 - The Providence-Webster County, Indiana Chamber of Commerce president says the closing of the Dotiki mine will have a big economic impact.

Closing mines has become somewhat of a trend.

Greg Wathen of the SW Indiana Economic Development Coalition said the coal industry is going through a transition right now.

In Vanderburgh, Posey, Warrick and Henderson counties, there are nearly 1,300 people who work in the coal industry. Those workers make on average about $83,000 per year.

So these are skilled and well paying jobs.

“As people are looking for greener sources of energy and looking less at fossil fuels it certainly is going to have an impact upon our region and I’m not sure if we fully know the effects," said Wathen.

The loss of employment at these mines takes money out of people’s pockets, which could be spent out in the community. Wathen says the challenge is finding a suitable replacement job for those individuals.

“We have a significant amount of jobs available in our market," explained Wathen. "The issue is not just the jobs because if you’re looking for a job, I guarantee you can find a job. But it’s the kind of job, the replacement for these kind of jobs at the same level of skills and the wages and will we be able to transition?”

Wathen says there are about 9,000 available jobs here in the region, with many opportunities available in manufacturing.