For workers at two Southern Illinois coal mines, the Christmas season will be filled with anything but cheer.

On Friday, Nov. 15, officials with Alliance Resource Partners announced that its subsidiary Gibson County North coal mine near Princeton, Indiana would be idled, resulting in the permanent layoff of  185 miners. Earlier in the month, Peabody, Illinois Services, LLC announced plans to shut down its Wildcat Hills mine in Gallatin County, resulting in the layoff of another 226 miners.

In the Wildcat Hills closure, company officials blamed the “poor economy” for the shut down. The first layoffs will begin Dec. 14. Opened in 2006, Wildcat Hills produced 1.4 million tons of coal in 2018.

In announcing the Gibson County Coal shut down, Alliance Resource Partners Chairman, President and CEO Joseph W. Craft III said, “The export markets have deteriorated over the last seven months and have contributed to an over-supplied market. Although we anticipate coal markets will improve, predicting when a rebound may occur is difficult and led to our actions.”  Layoffs at the Gibson North mine will begin Dec. 14, officials stated.

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