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CONSOL announces layoffs

CONSOL Energy Inc. has announced that it will idle its Emery Mine and furlough 171 employees there beginning Dec. 1.

The layoffs will affect about 135 hourly and 36 salaried workers. They were briefed on Oct. 1.

CONSOL explained that the mine will be idled because its production costs are higher than regional competitors and market conditions. The Emery Mine uses continuous mining machines and room-and-pillar methods while other mines use longwall techniques.

The mine also has an unsold inventory of about 250,000 tons - about three months of production at its 1.1 million ton annual output.

"It is unfortunate that we need to take this action, since the employees at Emery Mine have worked safely for more than 400 days without a single injury, and have done everything they could to keep the operation running," said Jimmy Brock, CONSOL Energy senior vice president of operations.

Brock added that employees who are interested and can qualify will be offered the option of transferring to another company operation.

The Emery Mine is the only CONSOL coal mine east of the Mississippi.

Payroll at the mine has been around $10 million and it has been paying applicable taxes at its Utah operation of about $7 million.

CONSOL will also begin idling its 84 Mine near Washington, Pa., beginning Dec. 1, laying off 60 workers.

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