LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- One of the world's largest coal producers says it will lay off about 750 workers in the Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia coalfields.
It's the latest setback for an industry struggling for market share as utilities switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.
Officials with Arch Coal Inc. said Thursday that almost 600 of the job losses will be in Kentucky.
The St. Louis-based company says its subsidiaries will close three mining complexes -- two in Kentucky and one in West Virginia. It is temporarily idling another complex in Kentucky and curtailing production at other operations in the three states.
Mining work accounts for some of the best-paying jobs in these areas. Local leaders worry the layoffs reflect a larger decline in the region's coal production.
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following comment on Thursday regarding the layoffs of coal miners in Kentucky:
"This is another devastating blow to Kentucky’s mining community and the families who rely on coal for their livelihoods. Our coal miners are some of the hardest working Americans, and it’s heart-breaking that the Obama Administration's war on coal has yet again contributed to more job losses in this industry.”