Officials at Haystack, a subsidiary of Omaha-based Kiewit Corp., told The Wyoming Star-Tribune the Haystack mine closure was purely based on financial difficulties alone. “This is not a reflection on the outstanding work of our employees,” said company spokesman Tom Janssen. “It was driven by the challenging coal market conditions that have affected virtually the entire industry,”

Company officials are working with the 12 employees at the 960-acre project to find other assignments among Kiewit projects, Janssen added. The mine itself, however, is relatively small within Wyoming’s coal sector and was originally slated to produce 1.5 million tons of coal annually—part of statewide production of some 400 million tons.

Nonetheless, a local government official said the closure will still negatively impact the local economy. “It’s like any other business,” said Dell Atkinson, Uinta County director of economic development.

Kiewit is among many companies to suffer from a slackening coal market: mild winter weather, cheap natural gas and pending environmental restrictions on power plants have hurt production and jobs for one of Wyoming’s greatest natural resources. Last year, for example, Wyoming mines produced about 8% less coal than in 2011; federal government statistics have likewise indicated 3% of the states coal workers lost their jobs in the same timeframe. This year has been equally dire with Energy Information Administration data showing Wyoming coal production through Q4 fell 11.5% compared to the same period year-on-year.