Patriot Coal May Cut Jobs at Kentucky Mines

Patriot Coal Corp., the U.S. producer of the fuel that emerged from bankruptcy a year ago, warned workers at its western Kentucky mines that it may make “substantial” job cuts.

Workers at the Highland and Dodge Hill mining complexes received WARN Act notices, St. Louis-based Patriot said today in a statement, legally mandated alerts issued at least 60 days ahead of any closings or large-scale firings.

The Kentucky operations employ about 670 people and last year produced 3.9 million tons of thermal coal, which is used to generated electricity.

Thermal coal prices in the U.S. have slumped in the past three years as some power utilities switch to cheaper natural gas. Demand is also suffering from the effects of tighter government regulations on emissions, while the market for metallurgical coal used in steelmaking has slumped as well, leading to a wave of mine closures across the U.S. coal industry.

Patriot, which is closely held, filed for bankruptcy in July 2012 and exited in December last year.

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