New Coal Operation Bringing Jobs, Hope to Wyoming County
Plans are moving forward with a project to open a metallurgical coal mine and prep plant in Wyoming County.
Consol Energy first announced in 2019 plans to open a mine just outside of Mullens by 2021. The project was delayed because of the pandemic but is now moving forward, according to an email from a representative from the company.
The coal mine, along with a prep plant, is expected to be fully open by 2022, employing up to 150 people.
Mullens Commissioner Nathan England says he’s optimistic these jobs will help local families stay closer to home.
“There’s men furloughed from the railroad, there's people having to drive one and two hours to work and then they see well there’s going to be work right here again,” England said. “A Wyoming countian in general is just survivors. We get by on what we have but a little help every now and then is a great thing.”
England has lived in the area most of his life. Over the years, he’s seen families suffer and move away as the jobs in mining and the railroad decline.
“You can see the trend of (coal jobs) going down, and I can understand the impact that it's had on the environment, but it's still a big deal here,” England said. “We'll have to have it in order to survive.”
Some people have been working to welcome visitors brought by the Hatfield and McCoy ATV Trail system by purchasing and renovating houses and opening businesses.
“We're trying to capitalize on other things we have here, such as the trail system. It’s getting much bigger,” England said. “The more people that come in, the more people can see that there are business opportunities here. Because there's a lot of travel in town nowadays, just because of the trail.”
The mine is expected to produce 900,000 tons of metallurgical coal per year. Met coal is a key component in steel-making.