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Alpha Natural Resources cutting 230 jobs

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:16:52 PM CST
Updated On: Oct 31 2013 10:12:27 PM CDT
Alpha Natural Resources cuts
BRISTOL, Va. -

Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources plans to make more job cuts.

They released disappointing third quarter earnings on Thursday.

The company told us they plan to let go of 130 salaried employees and eliminate 100 vacant positions.

They are cutting 230 total jobs and these cuts will be company-wide.

Alpha spokesperson Steve Higginbottom told News5 that the coal market has taken a hit over the last few years forcing their hand, once again.

"We announced cuts in September of last year and thought that would be enough but the markets continued to erode," said Higginbottom.

Higginbottom told us they've cut about 3,000 jobs over the last year.

Now they have to reduce operating and support costs by about $200 million, he said.

"These are very difficult decisions we have to make but we have to make them to remain competitive," Higginbottom said.

Alpha experts told us this is one of the worst markets in the last couple decades.

They said part of this is due to lower natural gas prices, causing utility companies to choose gas instead of coal.

Coal-fired power plant regulations set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have also contributed to their financial woes.

"The EPA is announcing more regulations ,very stringent," said Higginbottom. "The utilities are having to close power plants."

The regulations limit the amount of carbon emissions that can come from a coal-fired power plant.

Higginbottom told us buying Massey Energy in 2011 had no effect on Alpha.

Even though they're making cuts now, Higginbottom told News5 that Alpha is confident the market will turn around.    

"We're hoping that some point in the future Alpha can hire more again," he said. "We know we're a critical employer in this area."

Higginbottom said they are still reviewing the details of the cuts so he was not able to say who will be losing their jobs.

Employees will be notified in mid-November.