Afterdistributing letters to employees instructing them not to return to work this week,Peabody Energy Corp.on March 31 confirmed staff reductions at its North Antelope Rochelle mine inWyoming, announcing that approximately 235 hourly and salaried employees wouldbe laid off.
Thenews comes as speculation grows about Peabody's ability to avoid filing forChapter 11 bankruptcy protection. These concerns were bolstered in mid-Marchwhen Peabody disclosed in an SEC filing that there is substantialdoubt as to whether the company will be able to continue as a going concern.
"Whileour asset position and contracting strategies give us relative strength, we aretaking these actions to match production with customer demand," KemalWilliamson, Peabody's president — Americas, said in a news release announcingthe layoffs. "We regret the impact of these actions on our employees,their families, and the surrounding communities in the Campbell and Conversecounty areas."
OnMarch 29, some employees at the mine reportedly received letters instructingthem not to return to work except to attend a meeting scheduled for April 1.
Thestaff reductions come after similar cuts at Peabody's nearby Caballo andRawhide mines, according to a representative from the Campbell County Chamberof Commerce.
NorthAntelope Rochelle produced 109.3 million tons of coal in 2015 and employed anaverage of approximately 1,400 employees throughout the year.