Murray Energy made a U-turn on a Wednesday announcement that there would be more layoffs at its mines in the Carbon-Emery county area.
In a brief statement issued Saturday evening, Murray Energy Corporation's subsidiary, UtahAmerican Energy Inc., announced "the need for employment reductions at its Utah mines has been averted."
The earlier news layoffs would be coming did not say how many were expected or where. UtahAmerican Energy has determined that approximately 20 employees will remain at Tower Mine to maintain and improve the mine and that about 30 employees will be transferred from Tower Mine to West Ridge Mine.
Tower Mine was idled Aug. 26 for an internal review of the safety of operations. A month later, the federal Mining Safety and Health Administration issued orders to review procedures for Tower and other deep-mountain coal mines operating at depths greater than 1,500 feet.
MSHA spokesman Matt Faraci said recently Tower Mine still would have workers underground performing safety checks even though coal was not being extracted. How many workers were required during the maintenance period has not been specified. Murray's West Ridge Mine is still extracting coal, though workers there were also caught up in a shuffle that began with the underground disaster earlier in August at Murray's Crandall Canyon Mine near Huntington.
The group of miners being transferred to West Ridge from Tower "consists of very highly skilled and experienced miners, and West Ridge Mine will greatly benefit from their talents," Saturday's company statement reads.
"UtahAmerican Energy looks forward to the re-opening of Tower Mine, which was idled to modify the longwall mining equipment and to conduct engineering and ground control studies. UtahAmerican Energy is working on a roof control plan with MSHA, and the mine will reopen after the longwall equipment is modified and the roof control plan is approved by MSHA," the statement continues.
No time frame for Tower's reopening has been announced by the company.
"The health, safety, and overall well-being of employees is the highest priority to Murray Energy and UtahAmerican Energy, and the Ccompany remainscommitted to keeping its employees, community members, and local leaders informed about the progress at Tower Mine," the company statement says.
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