The restructuring will entail moving miners and equipment to other operating mines throughout the region, however, it will not lower 2013 output, according to officials. Southern Coal employs 1,700 people across five states—Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia—hence the changes will have a slight impact on its overall workforce.

“Hopefully, this will be a positive change for the company and its employees,” said Jim Justice, owner, Southern Coal. “The majority of employees and equipment from the idled mines will be moved to mines that produce high-quality coal at a more competitive cost structure.” Deep mine equipment will remain on site pending operational resumption.