The Quinsam Coal Mine will suspend all coal mining activity for an eight-week period beginning July 1, the company announced Tuesday morning.
The suspension results from high inventory levels created by ongoing weak demand and depressed pricing for thermal coal.
“We have curtailed our production operations quite a bit over the last couple of years, to where we’ve been operating only 40 hours a week,” Quinsam general manager Gary Gould said.
Quinsam’s total workforce is 70, including 49 hourly and 21 salaried employees. Approximately 12 people will remain at work during the suspension.
“There will be some key business activities we’ll need to maintain during the shutdown,” said Gould. “One of those is continuing to provide coal to customers, daily inspection of the idled areas and permit requirements for environmental monitoring.”
Quinsam Coal maintains an inventory in excess of 50,000 metric tonnes at its main mine site, with another 9,000 tonnes at its barge-loading facility.
The company will continue to monitor supply levels and market conditions and demand in anticipation of re-opening at the end of August, at a production level aligned with the market conditions in place at that time.
“Our hope is to start up at the level we’re at now,” Gould said.