Miner reflects on career at idled mine in Logan County, WV - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Miner reflects on career at idled mine in Logan County, WV

Posted: Updated:
More than 250 employees in Logan County were laid off. More than 250 employees in Logan County were laid off.

More than 250 miners and employees have been let go.  The lay-offs took place at the Guyan Surface Mine and the Fanco Prep Pant in Yolyn in Logan County.  Friday was their last day on the job.

"We kind of figured it was either going to be today or the next day.  We were getting ready to go home from work and they told us that was it," said equipment operator, Darrick Lambert. 

That's how Lambert said he found out his nine years of employment at Guyan Surface Mine was over.  

In September, employees were told the mine was being idled.  Lambert said looking back over the last couple of months, it's been tough.  "Emotional. A lot of people have worked their whole lives up there. It's a special place to work there, it really was," he said. 

In a statement from the company reads, "This is an unfortunate but necessary step to align Patriot's production with expected sales.  Despite the substantial progress being made in the Patriot reorganization, we still have to contend with the industry-wide challenge of coal prices that have fallen well below production costs at many Central Appalachian mines."

Lambert said, "From generation to generation.  My dad was a coal miner.  My uncle was a coal miner.  My cousins are coal miners.  Everybody around me is.  He said his only other option now as far as finding a new job is to move north, to the Marcellus Shale, to work in the oil industry.  "That's probably what's going to have to happen," Lambert said.

He expects more layoffs in the future for other miners and he has a message for those men and women who are still employed in the coal industry.  "Just be thankful you're still working there, he said.  "Don't give up."

Also in that news release from Patriot Coal, they add that they are trying to find at least some of the employees jobs within the company.  Officials said,  "Efforts are being made to place employees into open positions at other Patriot subsidiary operations, and the Company currently anticipates that about 50 employees will be offered jobs at those locations."