On April 3, U.S. coal supplier Contura Energy idled a majority of its operations for 30 days, with some sites idling for shorter periods of time and a few continuing to operate at a near-normal rate of production. This is in response to market conditions, existing coal inventory levels and recent customer deferrals due to concern around the global economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Location-specific schedules are being implemented based on existing customer agreements, current inventory levels, and anticipated customer demand, the company said. Certain preparation plants, docks, and loadouts will continue operating to support business needs and customer shipments.

“As the world attempts to understand and respond to the impacts of the current pandemic, we are implementing plans that we believe will help us manage through the challenges of a distressed coal market and growing coal stockpiles alongside varied customer responses to the coronavirus,” Chairman and CEO David Stetson said. “In this and every situation we face, our employees are of utmost concern, and we are implementing tailored measures across the company to help reduce the impact and exposure to our workforce wherever possible.

Stetson added that the company will continue to analyze needs across the organization and demand from customers base, and may extend or shorten idle periods.

Regardless of production schedule or idle status, all Contura operations will continue to be monitored and maintained with regard to safety and environmental compliance, the company said.

Contura said it is also withdrawing its previously announced guidance for 2020. “As with any market disruption, we are closely monitoring the potential impact of these events on our workforce, our business and our financial position,” CFO Andy Eidson said. “We are withdrawing guidance today in tandem with the announced operational efficiencies and we plan to provide additional color around our full-year expectations as part of our first -quarter earnings announcement.”