Ohio County measuring impact of mine being idled

Ohio County leaders and residents are starting to measure the impact of the announced idling of another western Kentucky mine.


Armstrong Coal officials issued warn notices for the Equality Surface Mine near Centertown. Dozens of miners are expected to feel its impact.


The decision to idle the mine is the latest in a series of closings and mines being idled to happen across western Kentucky the past several years, and is also the latest hit to the coal economy in the commonwealth.


As the coal keeps going in and out at other mines, the road leading to Equality Surface Mine will be a little more silent.


“I hate to see it this soon," says Paul Brown of Centertown.


"I feel bad for everyone that works there,” adds Richard Fleener, who mined for more than three decades. He fears the impact of this announced idling will be felt through Centertown, and throughout the county.


"Especially the time of year they're doing it around Christmas. all these people have young families and its a rough time to be idling," he says.


In a statement, company officials cited lower demand for the coal produced at equality and market overproduction for the idling. Judge Executive David Johnston says the idling will cost the county thousands of dollars in lost coal severance and occupational taxes. 61 workers are at the mine, and 49 at their prep and dock facility, potentially affected. To recover lost tax dollars, Johnston hopes another company moves in.


"You either have a lot of people working and they're working all the time, or the mines are trying to close. like I said, we are optimistic that these folks will get reemployed by another mine, or that another company will buy that mine."


Armstrong officials add the layoffs are expected to happen some time between December 8th and December 22nd.


(This story was originally published on October 12th, 2017)

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