Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: ARLP) announced today that its subsidiary, Excel Mining, LLC (Excel), issued Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices to all employees at the Pontiki mining complex in Martin County, Kentucky. ARLP currently plans to continue operations at the Pontiki complex until early December to fulfill commitments under existing sales contracts at which time the mine is expected to cease production.
"For over 36 years, the Pontiki mining complex has operated safely and profitably — providing quality jobs for our hardworking people and meeting the needs of customers," said Joseph W. Craft III, President and Chief Executive Officer. "When Pontiki resumed production last year, we knew the market outlook was uncertain but were hopeful that conditions would improve. Unfortunately, market conditions remain weak, and we have been unable to secure new coal sales commitments for Pontiki coal beyond the existing 2013 contracts. While we are deeply saddened by the impact of this decision on our employees, their families and their communities, we have no choice but to take this unfortunate but necessary step to begin the process of winding down production operations at Pontiki."
ARLP continues to execute on its growth projects in the Illinois Basin and Northern Appalachia, and management is currently evaluating options to provide employment opportunities to Pontiki personnel at other ARLP operations in those regions. Information sessions will be scheduled in the near future to allow Pontiki employees to learn more about these opportunities.
Following a closure order by the Mine Safety and Health Administration with respect to the Pontiki coal preparation plant and associated surface facilities, the Pontiki mining complex was temporarily idled on August 29, 2012 and resumed operations on November 25, 2012. Due to that temporary idling of the mine, ARLP recorded in 2012 approximately $26.6 million of related losses and charges, including a $19.0 million non-cash asset impairment charge. ARLP does not currently expect the closure of the Pontiki mine to have a material impact on its 2013 financial results.