The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

November 27, 2012

Southern Coal announces massive miner call backs, hiring

Justice company signs multi-year deal with AEP

Southern Coal Corp. announces massive call backs and hiring of miners in Southwest Virginia, Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. The company has worked over the last month with several customers to secure coal orders to be able to save jobs as well as reopen mines closed earlier this year.

Southern Coal has entered into a multi-year agreement with one of the nation’s largest utility providers, American Electric Power. Jim and Jay Justice, owners of Southern Coal, have been in constant negotiation with officials of AEP to be able to save jobs and restart the mines.

Nicholas K. Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power, stated, “AEP is pleased to play a role in supporting economic development in Southwest Virginia, Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. 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.”

All the employees and vendors of Southern Coal offer a special thanks to American Electric Power, Norfolk Southern, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

Tomblin commented, “This announcement is wonderful news to the entire Mountain State. 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.”

McDonnell said he wants to thank Southern Coal Corp., AEP and Jim and Jay Justice for their proactive work to save jobs and support a critically important Virginia industry.

“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, 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.

Kentucky Gov.. Beshear, said, “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.

“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.”

American Electric Power, the governors and the Justices have worked tirelessly to put these families back to work. Southern Coal said that 650 new miners will be hired over the coming weeks, and an additional 500 miners jobs will be saved.

Jim and Jay Justice said in a statement, “We are so happy to be able to save the jobs, and hire the 650 new miners, especially at this time of the year. We hope this will make the holidays a little better for those affected.”

Southern Coal is privately owed by the Justice family.

Based in Roanoke, Va., Southern Coal will employ over 1,700 people directly, and produce 9 million tons in 2013 from mines in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama.

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