Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Virginia making it easier for coal miners to transition to other types of mining in the state

In a move to make it easier for Virginia coal miners to find work in other types of mining, miners certified to work at surface coal mines will now be certified to work in the mineral mining industry, reports The Associated Press. Previously, the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy required additional training for workers hoping to transition from surface mining to other types of mining. Last year Virginia issued 1,565 general mineral miner certifications and 614 surface certifications for coal miners. The state has 444 permitted mineral mines.

During the past 10 years the state has lost 40 percent of its coal jobs, according to Virginia Energy Patterns and Trends. "Virginia's peak production year was 1990, when the state's mines produced over 46.5 million tons. By 2004, Virginia's production had declined to 31 million tons. In 2004, surface mines produced 33 percent of the coal mined in Virginia." Most of the state's coal mining takes place in Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties in the southwestern part of the state.

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