West Slope coal mine announces layoffs

Nearly 100 workers will lose their jobs at an underground coal mine in Western Colorado as operations are idled over the next year to develop a new longwall panel and the market for coal produced there is evaluated.

Bowie Resources announced the layoffs at its Bowie No. 2 mine near Paonia. The company said it’s scaling back production as it idles its longwall mining operation to develop a new longwall panel. That panel should be developed in about a year.

At the same time, though, the company also is evaluating the market for coal produced at the mine.

The Bowie No. 2 mine currently employs 181 full-time employees and 19 contractors. It’s estimated that 78 full-time and the 19 contractor positions will be eliminated.

“Some of the affected employees will be relocated where possible to fill vacancies in other parts of the business. However, layoffs are unfortunately unavoidable,” said Gene DiClaudio, chief operating officer of Bowie Resource Partners based in Kentucky.

In addition to the Bowie No. 2 mine, Bowie Resource Partners owns and operates three underground coal mines in Utah. The company sold a total of 15.8 million tons of coal in 2014, primarily for use in coal-fired power plants in Utah.