UPDATE: W.Va. Governor Jim Justice working to save Pinnacle mine

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement on Friday in response to the announced closure of the Pinnacle Mine in Wyoming County.

In a release sent out by the Governor on Friday afternoon, he said:

“Over the past several months, we’ve had great news upon great news in West Virginia. But today we have some not so good news. We have the Pinnacle Mine closing in Wyoming County that will displace a lot, a lot of miners.”

“We hope like crazy that that mine will go back to work and I’m working on it as best as I possibly can. We’re very hopeful that the mine has not seen its last days. The mine still has some very quality reserves and we’re very, very hopeful that the mine will go back to work either through the sale of the mine to another party or maybe, just maybe, things will happen to where the mine will be able to go back to work with the ownership that’s there. While I’m directly involved, I’ve also asked our Commerce Department to get involved in the biggest way they possibly can to try to figure out every way and any way that we can get these miners back to work either at that mine or at another mine close by.”

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PINEVILLE, W.Va. (WVVA) Multiple miners at the Pinnacle Mine in Pineville confirmed Wednesday that negotiations have fallen through with a potential new owner.

The employees said the mine is tentatively set to close on Friday, October 19, unless an 11th hour buyer comes through.

With up to 400 employees, the Pinnacle Mine is the biggest employer in Wyoming County after the Board of Education — supporting not only families in Wyoming County, but across Southern West Virginia.

The Pinnacle mine led the county in coal production for the first six months of 2018, reaching the second highest production level in Wyoming County over the last 13 years. Still, miners said they were told by company leaders that geological conditions were to blame for the closure.

An average million and a half dollars are at stake each year in tax revenues for Wyoming County. Seventy-three cents on every dollar goes toward supporting upkeep, extra-curricular activities, and field trips for Wyoming County Schools.

Mission Coal, the owners of the mine, previously told workers the mine would be not be hot idled in the long run, which would cost over 2 million dollars a month to accomplish. That move would essentially leave the mine to flood making the prospect of a new owner in the future unlikely.

Right now, employees on a reduced work schedule as work continues to move out equipment and close the mine.

Repeated attempts to reach Mission Coal at their headquarters in Natural Bridge have been unsuccessful.

Annie Moore

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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