Westmoreland Mining Holdings LLC and its subsidiary Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC, have announced that it will be suspending operations at its Coal Valley Mine due to the significant constraints and challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the outbreak, the company has steadfastly prioritised the health, safety and well-being of its employees, the local community, and all other stakeholders in its coordinated response to the virus.
Based on the latest assessment of the continuing and ongoing impacts of this situation, the management team ultimately concluded that there was no other option than to place the Mine into a state of care and maintenance.
Commenting on the determination, Joe Micheletti, Chief Operating Officer for the company provided, “This is a very difficult call for us to make, however, we know it’s the right decision in the circumstances and one that balances our duty of care to our workforce with the long-term interests of Coal Valley. For over four decades, safety has been the cornerstone priority at the operation and these actions highlight the extent to which the day to day activities at this unique mine have been compromised by COVID. Severance remuneration will be paid to all of the valued employees affected by this disappointing outcome.”
All the equipment and infrastructure on site, including the processing plant, will be maintained to preserve a state of operational readiness. “We will be transitioning to a small number of employees remaining on site to maintain the property and equipment, as well as to oversee all environmental responsibilities and compliance,” said Stephen Love, Coal Valley’s General Manager. “The operation will take all necessary steps to ensure that safety and environmental protocols and procedures are diligently followed during the care and maintenance period,” Love added.
Westmoreland’s management team is currently working with all stakeholders on a phased reduction of production operations at the mine site, with the transition to full care and maintenance activities expected to occur within the next quarter.