It’s been a rough season for the coal mines of the North Fork Valley. Last week, Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset laid off another 115 workers, bringing the total number of jobs cut at that mine this fall to over 250.
Mike Ludlow, Executive Vice President of Oxbow’s mining operations, points to where managers hope to start coal mining at Elk Creek Mine with a new or rebuilt longwall miner. Those plans are on hold while Oxbow Mining tries to line up that equipment.
Two weeks ago, the coal mine near Paonia owned by billionaire Bill Koch laid off more than half of its employees. The Koch owned Oxbow Mining company hopes to expand operations again in the future and rehire some of the workers. In the meantime the layoffs are creating hardships for a number of communities.
“It’s very sad time around the mine, you know to lose your income and lose your job is real traumatic, so it’s very painful decision for us," says Mike Ludlow, the Executive Vice President of Oxbow’s mining operations.