Coal Industry Hiring Heating Up Across West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia employs 3,000 more coal miners today than it did a decade ago, adding 1,000 workers in the last year.

In all, the industry employs 18,240 miners at both surface and underground operations. That's according to the latest data from the state Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training.

Earlier this year, Richmond, Virginia-based Massey Energy announced a major expansion aimed at boosting production 25 percent by 2010. Last week, it hosted a job fair in Boone County for Independence Coal and Inman Coal.

But Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said Tuesday that most companies in the state are looking for good workers at all levels.

So the work force may keep growing, even as demand and prices for coal remain sky-high.

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