Company officials said the idling of the Samples surface and Winchester underground mines near Cabin Creek was effective March 22. It noted that the inventory levels were a result of both a February CSX rail service disruption and continued coal weakness.

“Appalachian thermal coal markets have been particularly hard hit over recent months by the combined impacts of coal-fired plant closures driven by EPA emission regulations, low-cost natural gas, and diminished export opportunities,” a Patriot spokesperson said.

Coal processing and customer shipments from Paint Creek’s on-site stockpiles will continue throughout the idle period, which is expected to last three to four weeks.

Patriot officials did not note if any of the 35 eliminated individuals from the complex, which employs a total of 400 workers, would be eligible for other positions within the company.