Robert Murray, chairman, president and CEO of Murray Energy, says it was a heartbreaking decision.
“It’s a very sad chapter in my life, to close this mine,” said Murray. “This was my first coal mine. I sold my children’s toys. I mortgaged my home to buy that mine.”
When Powhatan Number Six closes in November, Murray says it will be permanent.
“It’ll never re-open again,” he said. “They’re a living thing. They flood. They cave in. Once a mine is closed, it can’t be reopened.”
Murray says some miners have been with him for 50 years.
“I know them all,” he said. “Know virtually all of them by name. This is my life.”
Will he give miners a good recommendation to go forward to new jobs?
“There will be no jobs in this area to recommend them for,” he said.
Do the miners have skills transferable to the gas and oil industry?
“Natural gas does not have jobs,” Murray said. “Once that well is drilled, there aren’t many people around that well.”
Murray says for every coal job, there are 11 spinoff jobs–in malls, stores and hospitals.
Yet now he says counties are offering huge breaks to gas plants.
“Free taxes! For ten years!” he said. “To get these gas plants. And they’re going to eliminate–with every plant–285 coal mining jobs, and create 30 gas jobs.”
Is the coal supply in the Number Six Mine nearly depleted?
“It is, ” Murray noted. “The mine is pretty much depleted. But the reason the mine is closing is very simply the Democrats in Washington, D.C.”
He addressed a rumor that claims all Murray Energy mines will be closing.
He says that’s absolutely not true.
“I’m going to do everything in my power–and I pray about it every day–that the Lord gives me the wisdom to keep these mines going, because I still have 5.400 employees,” Murray said.