The change in schedule took effect February 22 following a temporary weekend idle of the operations to make the workforce adjustments necessary to implement the restructuring plan, including a move of the majority of the mining equipment at the Fola surface operations to the Ike’s Fork portions of the mine site.
Recently, the U.S. District Court issued a ruling allowing Fola to continue operating in six valley fills in the Ike’s Fork permit area. “We have a plan and our tonnages have been sold, but in an effort to manage our stockpiles and to balance coal production with expected customer demand and shipping schedules, we are faced with making adjustments which unfortunately will impact a portion of our workforce,” said CONSOL Energy Executive Vice President and COO Nicholas J. DeIuliis, in announcing the restructuring plan. “If we had not been able to obtain the stay on the Ike’s Fork permit, the number of Fola employees impacted by the current restructuring would have been much greater.”
While the majority of Fola’s workforce will remain at work under the new operational plan, a total of 157 employees will be impacted and will be laid off effective immediately.
In December, CONSOL Energy issued notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) of a possible layoff at its Fola Operations in February. At that time, the company attributed the layoff potential to both uncertain market conditions and the U.S. District Court remand of a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit needed for the Ike’s Fork area of the mine. At that time, it was thought the ramifications of both would have the impact of shutting down Fola’s surface operations. However, as a result of the extended stay on the Ike’s Fork permit, production in the Ike’s Fork area of the Fola operations will be able to be maintained as stockpile levels are controlled. Reclamation activities will continue at Powellton and underground mining at Little Eagle Coal Co. will also continue.