Knott mine to go idle; 153 jobs affected

With demand for coal lower because of reduced industrial output, CONSOL Energy plans to idle its Kentucky operation this summer, affecting 153 employees.

Beginning July 1, the Pennsylvania company will cease operations at its Jones Fork mine near Mousie in Knott County, said senior vice president Tom Hoffman.

The mine produces coal to be used by electric power generators, and with more and more factories idling or closing, demand is down, Hoffman said.

"If you think about General Motors, for example, idling all of its manufacturing facilities, think about all the electricity that is not going to be consumed by those plants," he said.

Since the mine will be idled but not permanently closed, workers won't be receiving severance packages. They'll be eligible to draw unemployment, though, until the mine reopens, Hoffman said.

"We're anticipating that Jones Fork will be down for the remainder of the year," he said. "Whether we can bring it back the first of next year or February or March is really dependent on the economy."

The company has already idled an operation in Pennsylvania and some in West Virginia. All, like the Knott County mine, were targeted because their locations' geological makeup tends to make them costlier to operate, Hoffman said.