The Oklahoma-based producer, which called the three “higher-cost mines,” said it will reduce its operating units at the Hopkins County Coal Elk Creek mine. No job losses are slated there, as the mine is expected to cease operating during the first quarter of next year and the company said positions were available elsewhere in its portfolio.
To date in 2015, Elk Creek has sales and production volumes of about 2,537,000 tons (t) and 2,648,000 t, respectively.
At Gibson County Coal’s Gibson North and Gibson South operations, Alliance said it will eliminate a total of 1.5 production units and, by December 31, it will increase Gibson South to four production units and idle Gibson North. As it relates to that plan, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices were issued to 120 workers on November 6.
Gibson North has generated 2015 year-to-date coal sales and production volumes of approximately 1,939,000 t and 1,983,000 t, respectively.
On the same day, Alliance issued WARNs to another group of workers at Sebree Mining’s Onton room-and-pillar operation. Production at Onton has stopped. The company said about 140 will be affected by the move, when employment opportunities at other ARLP mines are considered.
Onton No. 9 has generated sales and production of 1,861,000 t and 1,869,000 t, respectively, year-to-date.
Unfortunately, prolonged weak market conditions made this production response necessary,” President and CEO Joseph Craft III said. “We deeply regret the impact of these decisions on our employees, their families and their communities. While we were hopeful that conditions would improve, an oversupplied market combined with weak pricing forced us to take these actions and shift production to our lowest-cost mines. These steps are consistent with our current projected production and sales volumes for 2015 and beyond.”
Some of the lost production will be made up by some of Alliance’s lower-cost mines; moreover, officials said in the company’s recent earnings released that its 2015 full-year ranges for coal production will range between 41.1 to 41.7 million tons and coal sales volumes will total between 40.9 to 41.5 million tons. In 2016, full-year ranges for coal production and sales volumes are projected to be 40 to 45 million tons.