Wyoming mines mostly spared from Arch Coal cuts

Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE: ACI) announced June 21 plans to idle several operations, cut production and trim its workforce by 750 full-time positions — mostly limited to its Appalachian coal operations. Company officials also said that a review of its asset portfolio will likely include selling off “non-core assets or reserves.”

“We deeply value our people, and the decision to reduce personnel was made only after exhaustively reviewing other options and exploring opportunities to avoid this measure,” John W. Eaves, Arch’s president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. “We sincerely regret the impact this announcement will have on our employees and their families as well as on the local communities where we operate.  This decision was difficult but necessary in order to weather the current downturn and to position the company for long-term success.”

Arch will temporarily idle its Hazard’s Flint Ridge complex, “and curtail production at other operations in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.” The cuts do not appear to include Arch Coal’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

“Current market pressures and a challenging regulatory environment have pushed coal consumption in the United States to a 20-year low,” said Eaves.  “In response, we had previously streamlined capital spending, idled equipment and reduced shift work.  We now are taking further steps to enhance our competitive cost position in Appalachia, while increasingly shifting our portfolio in the region toward higher-margin metallurgical coal operations.”

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Published on June 21, 2012

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