Arch Coal announces layoffs, cites downturn in demand for coal-fired electricity

U.S.-based Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI), a top five global coal producer and marketer with 157 million tons of coal sold in 2011, on June 21 announced plans to idle several operations and to reduce production at other mining complexes in Appalachia. The company cited an unprecedented downturn in demand for coal-based electricity. The actions, along with other recent changes in Appalachia, will result in a total workforce reduction of approximately 750 full-time employee positions.

Arch's subsidiaries will close three higher-cost thermal mining complexes and associated preparation plants, temporarily idle Hazard's Flint Ridge complex and curtail production at other operations in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. The mine locations affected by the announced closings are the East Kentucky, Eastern and Knott County complexes.

The actions will also reduce Arch's thermal coal production by more than three million tons annually.  Arch said it continues to expect thermal coal sales volume in the range of 128 million to 134 million tons for 2012 and estimates future reductions in annual capital expenditures in the range of $30 million to $40 million.

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