KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The Coronavirus pandemic has hurt the already struggling coal industry.
Along Cabin Creek Road in Kanawha County it’s still a busy day for the workers of Panther Creek Mining, but coming up in just a few short weeks, dozens of workers will be laid off and the trend doesn’t stop here.
In Floyd County, Kentucky, Redhawk Mining announced its plans to shut down its entire Spurlock Complex due to a “sudden decline in customer orders,” bringing the total number of layoffs to 182 workers starting this week.
The announcement came just hours after word in West Virginia’s Kanawha County that 200 jobs are being lost between layoffs at a stamping plant and the Panther Creek Mine.
“Every single job is a family and these jobs generally support seven other jobs so you are talking about arguably 10,000 people that are affected by something like this,” says Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.
Carper says there is very little they can do because this is an international issue with the energy market crises.
“This is worse than anything we have probably ever seen … just to give you an idea … of how bad the market has been impacted if you consider us manufacturing it’s off 6.4%, that is the largest single decline in the last 74 years,” Says Jason Bostic, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
Bostic says, at this moment, it is hard to determine whether the jobs or the market will come back. The Panther Creek layoffs begin June 4th