CONSOL Energy Corporation announced a major change for its coal industry in West Virginia. Representatives held a press conference in Morgantown on Monday.
CONSOL will sell five of its West Virginia Longwall Coal Mines to Murray Energy Corporation. This includes Blacksville, Robinson Run, and Loveridge in North Central West Virginia. The transaction is for about $3.5 billion.
"We've invested over a billion dollars into those five mines over the past five years. So, the infrastructure is in great shape," said Nick Deiuliis, the President of CONSOL Energy. "Most importantly, the workforce there, not the best in the state, not the best in the country ,the best in the world from both a training as well as experience stand point."
The United Mine Workers of America said that the decision to sell the mines was not a surprise.
"This changes nothing for our members with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment. Our collective bargaining agreement does not go away with this transaction, and our members remain covered by its provisions," said International President Cecil E. Roberts. "There will be no changes in pay, benefits, insurance, schedules, working conditions, safety provisions, grievance procedures or any other language in the contract."
CONSOL said it has invested more than $14 billion into Marcellus Shale in West Virginia alone. It said investing in drilling in the state will increase its compounded annual growth by 30 percent in the next three years.
Deiuliis said that in the long run he hopes this transaction will not only keep jobs but add new ones to West Virginia.
"I think it will create additional jobs tied to the gas industry side," Deiuliis said. "I think what we're seeing in the state now is an industry in natural gas is growing and starting to look a lot like the industry that we've enjoyed and seen on the coal side within the state for so many years."
Murray Energy currently operates six underground longwall mining systems and 23 continuous mining units.
The companies expect to finalize the transaction by the end of the year.