Twentymile mine officials remain mum on rumored layoffs

Officials with Twentymile Coal Co. and its owner, RAG American Coal Co., still aren't talking about rumored layoffs at the Routt County mine, even as they admit a soft coal market is forcing job cuts at an RAG mine in Pennsylvania.

RAG spokesman Mike Rounds said Thursday he wasn't able to comment on whether layoffs at the Routt County mine would happen. Earlier this week he said local layoffs were not anticipated now or in the future.

Several employees at Twentymile told the Craig Daily Press and Steamboat Today they had been told local layoffs would occur in a combination of salaried and hourly employees if coal sales didn't improve. Voluntary resignations also were mentioned by coal mine management, according to at least one employee.

The price of coal is down from about $12 a ton to $11.50 a ton. Rounds said 53 layoffs were necessary at the Pennsylvania mine because of a decrease in the need for coal in the East due to a mild fall and winter.

Twentymile spokesman Ron Spangler said Tuesday he would issue a statement Wednesday responding to the layoff rumors, but did not do so. Spangler was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Rounds apologized Thursday for not being able to comment but indicated he would be able to divulge more information in the near future.

RAG International Mining purchased Twentymile and eight other coal companies in May 1999 as part of a $1 billion deal.

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