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Consol Energy To Idle Miller Creek Surface Operations; To Lay Off 145 Employees

Consol Energy Inc. (CNX) said Tuesday that it has issued notice of its intent to idle its Miller Creek surface operations near Naugatuck, W. Va., resulting in a layoff impacting approximately 145 employees.

Operations impacted include the company's Wiley Surface Mine, Wiley Creek Surface Mine, Minway Surface Mine, Minway Preparation Plant, and Miller Creek Administration Group, all located in Mingo County, W. Va.

The company said that the layoffs will occur during a 14-day period beginning at 12:01 a.m., on December 30, 2012. At this time underground operations will not be affected.

To date in 2012, the Miller Creek complex has produced 1.55 million tons of coal; 83% is produced by surface operations. Annual direct estimated economic impact of the Miller Creek Complex in Mingo County is $161.6 million.

The company attributed the idling of its Miller Creek operations to a sequence of permit delays that has prevented the company from securing all of the necessary environmental permits required to continue mining as identified in the company's mine plan.

The company secured its Article III mining permit in November 2011 from the state of West Virginia. The company said it received news on October 29 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its objection to the company's 402 permit, however, that permit alone is not sufficient to allow miners to begin work.

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