McDowell County Commissioner Harold McBride and two other legislators told local news station WOAY that the group went back to work on February 8. Another 200 laid off miners are still waiting to be called back, McBride said.

Pinnacle mine, located in Pineville, was sold to Seneca and parent company ERP Compliant Fuels by Cliffs Natural Resources last December. It is now operated by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund (VCLF).

Just prior to the sale, Cliffs issued unemployment notices to about half of its workers at both the Pinnacle mine and the Oak Grove operation in Alabama (Seneca purchased that mine as well). Another round of 200 layoffs occurred in late December at the southern West Virginia mine.

Seneca officials said late last year that it plans to produce 4.4 million tons of met coal in 2016 with a combined staff of 811 in West Virginia and Alabama. Cliffs has now left the coal industry and has shifted focus to its iron ore business.