Twenty-one employees and 13 temporary workers at the Wyo-dak coal mine near Gillette have been laid off as the mine has cut back hours of operation.
Black Hills Corporation owns the mine and says it’s no cause for alarm; the most recent production contract simply reached its termination date.
Greg Hager (HAY-gur) of Black Hills says coal mining in the Powder River Basin is a competitive business, and coal consumer companies can take their pick of sites.
“If our coal quality is what they need and our price is attractive to them and we’re able to come to some agreement, that’s what drives these types of contracts.”
In other words, Hager says, when that’s no longer the case, contracts don’t get renewed, and the mining company has to adjust its operations and manpower.
Hager says Wyo-dak is the oldest operating surface coal mine in the country, and he expects it will begin work on another contract before long.