ROANOKE, Va. (Nov. 27, 2012) — Southern Coal Corp. is calling 500 miners back to work in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia and will create and hire another 650 mining jobs, it announced today after negotiating a multiyear coal supply deal with American Electric Power.
Southern Coal has worked the past month with several customers to secure coal orders to be able to save jobs and reopen mines closed earlier this year, it said in a news release. Jim and Jay Justice, owners of Southern Coal, have been in constant negotiation with officials of AEP, whioch is one of the nation’s largest utility providers, leading to a multiyear agreement.
“AEP is pleased to play a role in supporting economic development in Southwest Virginia, Southern West Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky,” said Nicholas K. Akins, president/CEO of American Electric Power. “We believe that it is important to maintain a diversified fuel mix for power generation, and that coal needs to continue to be part of that mix. This project will not only provide a secure source of reasonably priced fuel for our power plants, but it also will help fuel economic growth throughout Southwest Virginia, Southern West Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky.”
Southern Coal’s news release made mention of Norfolk Southern along with the governors of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia as playing roles in striking the deal. The release included statements from the governors:
Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia, Governor Steve Beshear, Governor of Kentucky, and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor of West Virginia. The Governors of these great states have the following comments:
“Today’s announcement is a victory for the hard working men and women and their families in the coal counties of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. The number of jobs saved and created by this multi-year agreement will benefit our region for generations to come,” said Gov. Steve Beshear said. “I’m proud to have worked with all the parties involved who stepped up and made this project a reality for so many. We wouldn’t be here today without the commitment of American Electric Power and its ongoing support of the coal industry and economic development growth. The same holds true for the diligent and active role Southern Coal Corporation and owners Jim and Jay Justice have shown throughout this process. The coal industry is important to us all, which is why I applaud this partnership and its economic impact to Kentucky and our neighboring states.”
“I want to thank the Southern Coal Corp., AEP and Jim and Jay Justice for their proactive work to save jobs and support a critically important Virginia industry,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s statement said. “This effort will save 500 miners jobs, and another 650 new miners will be hired as well. That is great news for those miners, their families, and our Commonwealth, as well as our neighboring states of West Virginia and Kentucky. Coal is an important part of our “all of the above” domestic energy strategy. The coal industry powers our economy, and it provides good-paying jobs for our citizens. Again, I want to thank Southern Coal Corporation, Jim and Jay Justice, American Electric Power, and every individual involved in this great example of cooperation in pursuit of job creation. This is a positive moment for Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and our nation’s economy.”
“This announcement is wonderful news to the entire Mountain State,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia. “America is the greatest nation the world has ever known, and that nation runs on coal. The commitment from the Justice Family, Southern Coal and AEP not only mean 1,700 jobs for our region-but it also will have a tremendous impact on continued economic growth in the surrounding tri-state communities. I appreciate so very much the hard work Jim and Jay Justice did to make this a reality.”
The 500 recalled miners will return to work and the 650 new miners will be hired over the coming weeks, according to Southern Coal.
“We are so happy to be able to save the jobs and hire the 650 new miners, especially at this time of the year,” Jim and Jay Justice said in a statement. “We hope this will make the holidays a little better for those effected. Southern Coal is privately owed by the Justice Family.
Based in Roanoke, Va., Southern Coal will employ more than 1,700 people directly, and produce 9 million tons in 2013 from mines in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama.