Rhino Resource Partners LP (NYSE: RNO) on June 2 announced that it is temporarily idling a majority of its Central Appalachia coal operations due to ongoing weakness in the coal markets.
Under the requirements of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, notices were given to 192 employees at the Central Appalachia operations. The final number of Rhino employees that will ultimately be impacted by these actions will be based on future market conditions for Central Appalachia metallurgical and steam coal. Central Appalachia is mainly eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia.
Joe Funk, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rhino’s general partner, stated: “We are taking difficult actions that are necessary due to the persistent weakness in the coal markets. Demand for Central Appalachia steam coal has fallen to unprecedented levels as utilities choose low-priced natural gas for electricity generation and other coal-fired capacity is shuttered due to governmental regulations. Met coal prices remain at depressed levels due to persistent worldwide oversupply and weak demand from China. Future market conditions will determine the duration that our Central Appalachia operations remain idle.”
Rhino is a diversified company focused on coal and energy related assets and activities, including energy infrastructure investments. Rhino produces metallurgical and steam coal in a variety of basins throughout the United States and it leases coal through its Elk Horn Coal landholding subsidiary in eastern Kentucky. It has other mines outside of Central Appalachia in states like Ohio and Utah.