The company said it will stockpile raw coal until the repairs to the overland conveyor system and prep plant are completed. “Our employees worked diligently to safely restart mining at Oak Grove as quickly as possible,” said Duke Vetor, senior vice president of Cliffs’ North American Coal operations. “Now our focus is on evaluating the damage to the preparation plant and safely bringing it back into production to meet our customers’ needs.”
To assist in the recovery, Cliffs has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross for tornado relief efforts in the Birmingham area. In addition, Cliffs will also provide $100,000 collectively to various local organizations providing basic essentials to victims within Oak Grove mine’s communities. The company has also established a Relief Fund to which its employees can make contributions in support of local relief efforts.
“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this disaster,” Vetor said. “The local communities where we operate are important stakeholders of the company and we will continue to support organizations that provide assistance to those suffering as a result of this disaster.”
Walter Energy’s operations near Tuscaloosa, Ala., were spared the brunt of the storm’s full force, but the surrounding communities where most of the miners live were hit hard. The company said it would donate $750,000 to the American Red Cross and an additional $250,000 to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. The $750,000 contribution represents the single largest contribution Walter Energy has ever made.
“These storms have impacted the lives of so many of our employees, vendors, friends and relatives. We have decided to make contributions to these organizations in the hope that these funds will help the people of Alabama recover from the damage caused by the storms and our hearts go out to the victims of this tragedy,” said Walter Energy Chief CEO Keith Calder. “In addition to this contribution, we have also been working closely with local emergency responders by dispatching our mine rescue teams to assist with search and rescue and recovery efforts in areas battered by last week’s tragic storms.”