Coal industry layoffs impacting businesses across region

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - Alpha Natural Resources announced Tuesday that they will be eliminating 1200 jobs company wide by the beginning of next year.

The layoffs started on Tuesday when the company idled eight mines in West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania affecting 400 jobs.

While company officials could not tell us if any jobs in eastern Kentucky will be lost, an official with the Kentucky Coal Association says it will still have an effect here either way.

Walter Stubblefield with Whayne Supply in Hazard says their business is 100 percent dependent on coal.

Since the last round of layoffs in the coal industry back in June, he says their business has been cut in half.

He says business is leveling off now, but they are still concerned about the future.

"If things keep continuing like they are, we probably will have to lay people off and make those cutbacks," said Stubblefield.

While no layoffs have been reported in eastern Kentucky, Bill Bissett with the Kentucky Coal Association says any layoff in the coal industry is concerning, but he still believes there is a bright future for coal here in the mountains.

"It will take a long time to rebound from this. I think the international markets are a tremendous market for us to mine eastern Kentucky coal and sell it over seas," said Bissett.

A representative from Alpha Natural Resources says the company is working to streamline the company, and that many of those laid off will have the opportunity to transfer.

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