As the world gets more knowledgeable and conscientious of its contributions to carbon emissions, coal mining companies inevitably bear the brunt of the globe's waning interest in the fossil fuel.
American producer of metallurgical and thermal coal Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. will be slashing 1,200 jobs and will temporarilyshut down 8 of its mines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania on waning coal demand and regulations meant to simmer down global coal use.
American producer of metallurgical and thermal coal Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. will be slashing 1,200 jobs as well as temporarily will be shutting down eight of its mines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania on waning coal demand and regulations meant to simmer down global coal use.
"Cheap natural gas prices and a regulatory regime that is overtly designed to constrain the use of coal has created a double edged sword for us," Kevin Crutchfield, Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. Chief Executive, told Reuters.
The jobs cuts, representing 9 per cent of its total workforce, plus the mine closures, will see a dent in its 2012 production of the fossil fuel coal by some 16 million tonnes. In 2011, the company churned out 106 million tonnes of coal.
To offset declining business profitability, Alpha said it will focus to sell its thermal coal to a smaller domestic market and to new overseas markets.
"On the thermal side of the equation, we have been focused on the U.S. markets in the past. (We are) trying to scale up our platform as rapidly as possible to participate in global markets," Crutchfield said, noting that over the next 10 to 20 years, global demand for thermal coal, used to generate electricity, will grow by 2 billion tonnes.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration had earlier forecast that U.S. power companies will out out 175 coal-fired generators by 2016.
"Overall, this is a positive for Alpha Natural and for the industry," analyst Kuni Chen said in Reuters News. The U.S.'s demand for the dirty yet cheaper fossil fuel to support its electricity needs has dipped in 2012. It is expected to bottom in 2013 before improving in 2014, Chen said.
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