Consol: 147 Remaining employees at Fola losing jobs - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Consol: 147 Remaining employees at Fola losing jobs

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In a news release distributed Friday, Consol Energy announced it would complete the idling of its Fola operations near Bickmore in Clay County.

Idling the operation will do away with 131 surface miners and office employees at the mine and another 16 at the Little Eagle Deep mine. The layoffs will occur over a 14-day period starting on Feb. 14.

"The decision to idle our Fola operations is a difficult one, but earlier this year we began the effort to manage our inventory and to balance coal production with expected utility demand and shipping schedules," said Nicholas J. DeIuliis, president. "We transitioned to reclamation during that period."

The employees who remained with the company were working as the coal extracting operation transitioned to reclamation efforts. Just this June, the first 318 Consol Fola employees were told they would lose their jobs due to the idling.

Reclamation efforts are to continue through mid-summer, Consol predicted.

The company blames the layoffs on "expected February completion of coal processing and shipping from its preparation plant and recovery of equipment and infrastructure from the Little Eagle Deep Mine.

The company also blamed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that it said has increased surface mining costs and generated uncertainty for Appalachian coal customers.

"Unfortunately, the domestic market for coal remains soft due to weak economic growth and activity and the continued inability of our customers to accept committed coal shipments remains a concern," DeIuliis continued. "We are hopeful that coal markets will normalize in the second half of 2013 and allow us to review the status of our Fola operations."