The company announced on April 23 that it has issued WARN Act notices as required by federal law to the crews at its Wells complex near Wharton and its Corridor G complex near Danville.
Wells includes the Black Stallion and CC10 mines, as well as the Wells preparation plant, and employs 450 people. It produced a combined 1.4 million tons of metallurgical coal in 2013. The Corridor G complex includes the Hobet 21 mine and Beth Station preparation plant. It employs 397 people and produced 2.3 million tons of thermal coal last year.
During the 60-day period outlined in the WARN Act notices, Patriot said mine management at both locations will evaluate operations and staffing to assess their ability to produce coal at a cost below projected sales prices.
Once that phase has been completed, the scope of the anticipated downsizing will be communicated.
“These actions are an unfortunate but necessary step to align Patriot’s production with expected sales,” Patriot President and Chief Executive Officer Bennett Hatfield said. “Both metallurgical and thermal coal markets continue to be challenging, with pricing at levels well below production costs at many Central Appalachian mines. Despite the savings we achieved in our reorganization, the production costs of these mines exceed today’s depressed prices, necessitating these actions.”