ShareThis Page

Consol to reduce operations at Bailey Mine Complex in Greene County

| Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, 2:48 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Coal storage silos and conveyor belts at the Consol Energy Bailey Mine Complex in Greene County. Photo taken Friday, June 6, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Jimmy Brock, chief operating officer of Consol Energy's coal division, exits the underground training facility during a tour of the Bailey Mine Complex in Greene County on Friday, June 6, 2014.

Consol Energy's plan to reduce coal production this year as it deals with a tough market will result in changes at its sprawling mine complex in Greene and Washington counties.

The Cecil-based coal and natural gas company on Monday will temporarily idle one of five longwall-mining machines in the Bailey complex. Consol does not expect layoffs as it shifts about 200 employees to other jobs in the mines.

“We do think it's going to be short-term,” said James Brock, Consol's chief operating officer for coal and CEO of CNX Coal Resources, which the company spun off last year to operate the mines. The company did not say how much it expects to save with the move.

Consol last week lowered its projected production for the year to 27 million to 32 million tons, from 30.6 million to 33.4 million tons, as demand continues to soften.

A warm start to winter worsened a market for coal that already resulted in low production and prices last year as utilities switch to natural gas to fire power plants.

“I think the weather definitely impacted it. But it's a combination of all those things,” Brock said.

The moves highlight tough times across an industry struggling to compete with cheaper natural gas and tougher environmental regulations on the power sector.

Kittanning-based Rosebud Mining Co. blamed low demand from power plants last week when it idled 20 mines and furloughed 429 employees across Western Pennsylvania. St. Louis-based Arch Coal this week became the fourth major producer to file for bankruptcy.

Consol expects to run the remaining four longwalls for three shifts, four days a week, as it continues to churn out coal for customers.

“This is a measure to optimize our operating schedules,” Brock said.

The company has contracted about 93 percent of what it expects to produce this year and nearly two thirds of 2017 production.

David Conti is the Tribune-Review's assistant business editor. Reach him at 412-388-5802 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.