Market conditions have forced the idling of an Upshur County mine, but no employees are slated to lose their jobs during the shutdown.
Arch Coal officials announced last week that the Imperial Mine would be under a "hot idle" status until further notice. About a dozen employees will remain at the mine so it would be able to return to operations when the market improves. The remaining 40 miners will be sent to work at the new Leer Mine in Taylor County.
"The time of the restart of the Imperial Mine will ultimately be dictated by market demand," said Kim Link, a spokeswoman for Arch Coal.
When fully operational in about six months, the Taylor County mine will have about 200 more jobs. It produces a grade of coal used in steel-making operations. About 20 Imperial miners will start work this week at the Leer Mine, while the rest will start in the near future.
"Imperial coal quality is a high-vol, B-grade of metallurgical coal that can be sold to power producers and steel manufactures," Link said. "Compared to Imperial, the Leer mine's coal quality is a higher grade, classified as high-vol A, which will be more desirable to the export market."