Arch Coal cutting 15 percent of Black Thunder mine employees

On the heels of this morning's announcement from Peabody Energy about 15 percent staff layoffs at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine, Arch Coal has confirmed a similar reduction at the Black Thunder Mine. "As a result of persistent weakness in thermal coal demand we are reducing staffing at Thunder Basin’s Black Thunder mine by approximately 15 percent," Arch Spokeswoman Logan Bonacorsi said. "We are currently in the process of meeting with employees. Through the commitment and ingenuity of our employees, we have made great strides over the last several years to streamline the operation, reduce costs and improve efficiencies. However, current market realities have required we take further action to enhance the competitive position of the operation and ensure long-term success." According to other sources, the 15 percent reduction means the loss of work for 243 employees. “We regret the need for this difficult step and the impacts it will have on our employees, their families and the local community,” said Keith Williams, Arch’s president of Western operations. “We have made every effort to preserve as many positions as possible, and this decision was made only after a number of other cost-cutting measures were exhausted. We deeply value the hard work, professionalism, and significant contributions of the employees who have been affected by this reduction in force. We want to thank the employees for their years of faithful and dedicated service to Black Thunder.” Arch attributed the current weakness in coal demand to mild weather, persistently low natural gas prices and high utility inventory levels, as well as recent coal plant retirements stemming from the implementation of the MATS rule. Arch expects the Powder River Basin to remain an essential energy source for the domestic and global power generation sector for decades to come. *Feature photo abutyrin/Shutterstock / Pitchengine Communities*