Officials from Birmingham-based Drummond Company announced Monday that they would lay off 455 workers at the Shoal Creek Mine in western Jefferson County. Since October, the mine has been closed after extensive damage resulting from an underground blast 10 months ago.
Though no one was killed in the February accident, there was so much damage that the mine was forced to shut down. Shoals Creek was Alabama’s largest coal mine, and one of the largest in the United States. Apparently the mine employed 820 workers in 2005 and produced 2.2 million tons of coal that year.
According to an article on montgomeryadvertiser.com, the mine was one under scrutiny, which may have forced the layoffs:
Shoal Creek was among more than a dozen Alabama mines to undergo court-ordered safety inspections by the state in late January and early February after the United Mine Workers of America filed suit over lax state oversight. The blast occurred after the inspection.