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NACCO's Liberty mine to lay off 75 employees after Kemper halts coal gasifier

NACCO Industries Inc. subsidiary Liberty Fuels Co. LLC issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice Aug. 4 to 75 employees at its Liberty mine, amid uncertainties surrounding the coal gasification operations at Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper energy facility.

The employees are expected to be laid off following the required 60-day WARN Act notice period, NACCO said in a Form 8-K filed Aug. 7.

The company does not expect any financial impact as a result of the terminations due to the nature of its contract with Mississippi Power, NACCO said.

NACCO attributed its net income of $6.8 million and revenue of $181.1 million during the second quarter to its North American Coal Corp. subsidiary, owner of the Liberty mine. The mine, which is the sole supplier of coal to fuel the gasifier at the Kemper plant, produced 185,064 tons of coal in the second quarter and had an average of 207 employees, according to federal mining data.

However, it warned that the subsidiary's long-term goal of increasing its earnings by about 50% from 2012's $42.5 million could be compromised, should the decision to suspend operations of the gasifier and mine become permanent.

North American Coal's revenue and net income stood at $28.1 million and $8.4 million during the recent quarter.