Dana Mining of Pennsylvania LLC said it is closing its 4 West Mine in Mount Morris, near the West Virginia border. The closure will mean the loss of nearly 400 jobs. Mepco, Inc., the parent company of Dana Mining, said the age of the mine and poor geological conditions had pushed up production costs.
“The 4 West Mine simply can’t compete in today’s steam coal market as most of our competitors have the advantage of better mining conditions and the higher production rates associated with longwall mining,” said Brian Osborne, Senior VP of operations for Mepco.
The 4 West Mine in Greene County is Dana Mining’s only mine in Pennsylvania.
The privately held Morgantown, West Virginia-based firm said the Mt. Morris mine will be idled in early March and result in 191 layoffs. The remaining 179 employees will work to remove equipment and seal the mine. The work is scheduled to be completed by June 1, 2018. Then they too will be let go.
Suffice it to say, the loss of 370 jobs will have a huge impact on the local economy. The rural area also means it will be difficult for laid-off employees to find well-paying jobs close to home.
The company said it will make resources available to help the laid-off workers find other jobs or enter retraining programs.
“We’re very concerned about our employees and their future,” Osborne said.
Mepco first opened the 4 West Mine in 2005. In 2016, the mine produced 1.9 million tons of coal. Since 2011, Dana Mining has shipped the coal along a 4.5-mile belt line from a facility in Dunkard Township to Longview Power Plant in Monongalia County, West Virginia.
The closure of the 4 West Mine leaves only two mining operations in Greene County: Consol Energy’s Bailey complex and Contura Energy’s Cumberland Mine. In November 2015, Alpha Natural Resources closed its Emerald Mine in Waynesburg, resulting in the loss of around 445 jobs.
“January 2018 Warn Notices,” Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, January 3, 2018.
“Dana Mining to close 4 West Mine near Mt. Morris,” Observer Reporter, January 3, 2018.