Coal production halts on Black Mesa  
By Jim Maniaci
Staff Writer

BLACK MESA MINE — Peabody Energy is calling the end of coal production as of today at its Black Mesa Mine on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations a temporary suspension.

And Southern California Edison has said it won't lay off any of its Mohave Generating Station workers until the end of January, may keep many of the employees into June even perhaps until the end of 2006 and will retain some of them to maintain the electric generating station in Laughlin, Nev., according to the Bullhead City Bee newspaper.

Peabody press officer Beth Sutton said her company's "primary objective is to continue to work with the Mohave stakeholders to minimize the shutdown."

In her Dec. 22 statement, Sutton said about 165 jobs are affected, with approximately 85 percent or roughly 140 employees being eligible to take their retirement.

"A handful of employees will remain in 2006 to assist with mine suspension and reclamation activities," she added. "Peabody has worked hard to minimize the impacts to jobs and has allowed natural attrition to reduce the number of jobs impacted. We're also giving priority consideration to qualified employees who wish to apply for jobs at the Kayenta Mine, and about 15 percent of affected workers are now working there," Sutton said. This would indicate about 25 people being hired at the Kayenta Mine.

The larger Kayenta Mine is north of the other mine and sends its coal via an electric railroad about 80 miles to the Salt River Project-operated Navajo Generating Station, located on the south shore of Lake Powell in the Le Chee Chapter east of Page, Ariz.

Black Mesa's coal has gone to Mohave exclusively since the plant began operation in 1970 for its two-unit, 1,500 mega-watt operation which provides power to 1.5 million families in California, Nevada and Arizona but not on either reservation.

The plant provides the highest-paying jobs in the twin communities separated by the Colorado River, just as on the reservation the coal mine provides the highest-paying jobs in a socialistic economy with federal, tribal and local governments the only employers in many Navajo Nation chapters.

Both tribal governments wanted the mine and plant to stay open since royalties and taxes provided a large portion of the money for Kykotsmovi and Window Rock-based governments.

— To contact reporter Jim Maniaci, telephone 285-6184 in Grants or (505) 870-7775 (cellular).

originally found in the Gallup Independent


Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. posted without profit or payment for non-profit research, educational, and archival purposes only.






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