State’s only coal mine to halt exports for remainder of year

Alaska’s only working coal mine plans to halt exports for the rest of the year as the slow coal market has forced a temporary closure of its coal loading facility.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that Usibelli has already cut workers at its Seward facility down to eight as exports slowed in the past year and that additional layoffs are planned.

Officials from Usibelli and subsidiary Aurora Energy Services met with employees Tuesday to discuss how to transition the facility into idle mode.

A spokesman says Aurora, which operates the facility on behalf of the Alaska Railroad, will maintain a small crew at the loading facility through the remainder of the winter into next year.

By 2014, exports had fallen to less than half the level reached in 2011 and 2015 has seen even fewer shipments.