Alpha Natural Resources is closing its Still House Branch Mine in Cumberland, leaving 40 miners without jobs. Alpha spokesman Rick Nida told the Harlan Daily Enterprise that another 40 workers will be reassigned to its Cloverlick mines in Harlan County and Northfork mines in Letcher.
Alpha has already closed mining operations in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
Alpha is the nation's largest supplier of metallurgical coal used in the steel-making process. It is also a major supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries.
Nida said that whether other area mines close in the near future depends on market conditions.
He said the thermal coal market is down because some coal-fired power plants are closing an because of competition with natural gas.