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Contura to Idle West Virginia Coal Mine, Put Cumberland Mine Up For Sale



By Andrew Moore

June 23, 2020 - Contura Energy will idle its Kielty underground mine in West Virginia and put its Cumberland mine in Pennsylvania up for sale, the Bristol, Tennessee-based coal miner said June 22.

The company attributed the "strategic actions" to the deteriorating market for both metallurgical and thermal coal.

The measures "will allow the company to further strengthen its financial performance and to rationalize its production in light of market conditions."

The Kielty mine, also known as Ruby Energy, is in Mingo County, West Virginia, and produces coal for metallurgical, thermal and industrial customers. The idling will affect roughly 170 workers, including those at the Delbarton Preparation Plant. Contura said the idling was due to "sustained adverse market conditions, which have rendered the mine uneconomic."

In accordance with the requirements of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employees were given 60 days' notice of expected layoffs in connection with the idling of the two facilities, said the company.

Cumberland mine, in Greene County, Pennsylvania, was slated to undergo a $60 million renovation involving the construction of a new refuse impoundment at the mine. Instead, Contura will cancel the project, and put the property up for sale.

In addition, Contura said it amended the coal supply agreements attached to the mine, such that all of its obligations to supply coal from the mine will expire on December 31, 2022.

"Given the current market conditions and what we expect from the near-term outlook, it is clear that these properties are not economical and will not be able to deliver the kind of value we strive for in our portfolio," Contura CEO David Stetson said in the June 22 announcement. "These are trying times, but we are committed to make the difficult choices necessary to maintain our long-term financial strength."

Cumberland customers include Vistra, Monongahela Power, Dynegy and Longview Power, according to US Energy Information Administration data.