Va. coal mines closing due to COVID-19 concerns
Hundreds of employees will be affected.
Five Virginia coal mines announced Monday they they shutting down operations to stop the spread of coronavirus, but continuing to fulfill weekly orders from current stockpiles.
The Buchanan Mine No.1, which employs 543 workers in Southwest Virginia, has closed as of Monday, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy spokesperson Tarah Kesterson says. The mine is owned by Coronado Coal.
Employees who are working on the longwall section of the mine will continue work this week, but after that only salaried staff will stay to maintain the mine, Kesterson says. The mine has 750,000 tons of coal at its preparation plant and a small crew will load the coal on a weekly basis onto trains to fulfill orders, according to Buchanan #1.
INMET Mining LLC — which includes the Osaka, Pigeon Creek, North Fork and D-31 mines — also announced Monday morning it would close due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Osaka employs 60 people, Pigeon Creek employs 13, North Fork employs 8 and D-31 employs 15. They, too will keep a few people on site to maintain the mine during the closure, Kesterson says.
The Polycor quarry, which does not produce coal, reported its closure on Monday to the DMME as well.