Twentymile suspends contracts

— Twentymile Coal Co. suspended the contracts of all of its contract labor force this week, Human Resources Director Ron Spangler said.

He did not have concrete numbers, but said the number of contract laborers suspended probably was between 15 and 20 workers.

Workers hired through Price Mine Services have been told to not come in for work until Jan. 1 because certain building projects at the mine will temporarily slow production, Spangler said.

Representatives from Price Mine could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"This is really a timing issue," Spangler said. "We're starting up a brand-new coal processing facility. We need some time to get that set up and running. At the same time, there are some other projects we're getting done."

With the current projects, there would not be a sufficient workload to justify keeping everyone on the payroll, Spangler said.

The suspensions are not layoffs, Mine Manager Mike Ludlow said.

"We have not laid off any employees," Ludlow said. "It's a business decision right now. We decided not to spend that money (on personnel) now and wait until next year to spend it."

The loss in production is only temporary, Spangler added.

"Our long-term contracts are extremely viable," he said.

Spangler estimated production would be back to full capacity around Jan. 1.

"We're just looking forward to get things back and running at the first of the year and get our people back," Spangler said. "They're good people."

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