Willow Lake Mine in Southern Illinois to be closed - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Hundreds of jobs lost in Southern Illinois mine closure

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The closure of a mine in Southern Illinois will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Big Ridge, Inc. has announced it will permanently close the Willow Lake Mine near Harrisburg, Ill.

They say the mine has failed to meet acceptable standards for safety, compliance and operating performance, and "these ongoing issues make the operations unsustainable."

This comes after a deadly accident at the mine on Nov. 17.

Chad Wayne Meyers, a 30-year-old employee at the Willow Lake Mine was fatally injured early on Nov. 17 after he became pinned by a continuous mining machine that he was operating.

Willow Lake sold 2.2 million tons of coal in 2011. The mine has a workforce of about 460 people and operates year-round, seven days a week, according to Peabody Energy's website.

A press release says Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) letters are being provided to approximately 400 employees.

Peabody expects to incur a largely non-cash, one-time charge estimated at $40 to $60 million ($0.10 to $0.15 per share after tax) in the fourth quarter primarily to write off assets, increase asset retirement obligations and accrue severance.

The company expects little effect on ongoing earnings from the closing.

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