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Peabody lays off 40 at Ariz. mine that fuels power plant set for closure

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Peabody lays off 40 at Ariz. mine that fuels power plant set for closure

Peabody Energy Corp. laid off about 40 employees at its Kayenta coal mine in Arizona, whose sole customer is a power plant that will close at the end of the year.

Peabody spokesperson Charlene Murdock confirmed in an email March 21 that the company reduced its workforce in late February and "regrets the impact this action has had on impacted workers and their families."

The Salt River Project announced Feb. 28 that it will shutter the 2,250-MW Navajo Generating Station at the end of 2019 because the Navajo Nation is unable to guarantee that it can assume ownership while protecting the project and other existing owners.

Peabody is "actively engaging" with the Navajo Transitional Energy Co., a coal producer owned by the Navajo Nation that sought to purchase the mine and plant, and will "continue to encourage stakeholders to seek out appropriate steps to facilitate a transition for NGS and Kayenta," Murdock said. "Our base case remains closure absent formalized agreements."

The mine has about 300 employees who will continue producing coal in the meantime and then "advance into a final reclamation phase as part of the closure plan," she said.

The Kayenta mine produced nearly 6.6 million tons of coal in 2018, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.