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Colorado coal mine to furlough more than half its workforce

May 19, 2020 GMT

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — More than half of the workforce at a Colorado coal mine will be furloughed at different stages over a four-week period amid the coronavirus pandemic, company officials said.

Twentymile Coal Company’s Foidel Creek Mine in Oak Creek has continued operations with limited staff and expects operations to resume regularly in June, the Steamboat Pilot & Today reported.

The furloughs are needed because of “reduced customer demand driven by historically low natural gas prices, availability of subsidized renewable generation, coal plant retirements and the catastrophic and widespread disruption of COVID-19 impacting the economy,” said Charlene Murdock, a spokesperson for parent company Peabody Energy, which owns and operates the mine.

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The mine employs about 140 people, meaning about 70 workers will be furloughed, she said. Furloughed workers won’t be paid but will receive benefits.

According to the Coal Mining Market Global Report, the global coal mining market is expected to decline from about $815 billion in 2019 to $725 billion in 2020.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Twentymile Coal Company had 266 employees as of December 2018 compared to 451 in December 2012, the the Steamboat Pilot & Today reported.

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