Report finds longwall mining adds nearly $2 billion in economic value to two counties
A report completed by the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh found that longwall mining has added $1.94 billion in economic value to Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania and has supported about 7,350 jobs, both directly and indirectly.
The report was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance and looked at 2013 data. The report concluded that longwall mining is a significant economic force in the two counties, which are home to Consol Energy's Harvey, Enlow Fork and Bailey mines as well as Alpha Natural Resources' Cumberland and Emerald mines, and others, Pittsburgh Business Times reported.
Longwall mines in the two counties account for 58 percent of Pennsylvania's bituminous coal production.
In a separate set of numbers, the analysis also found that capital spending on the longwall mines supported 2,340 full- and part-time jobs and added $282 million in value to the economy.
In a statement, Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Canonsburg) said longwall mining accounts for 13 percent of the gross domestic product of the two counties.
But those numbers are likely to drop in the near future — Alpha is curtailing production and is closing its Emerald mine by the end of the year due to sustained low prices and the fact that the mine is reaching the end of its life.
John Pippy, president of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, said the mine's closure will have a significant impact on the counties. But he said Alpha is hoping to shift some of its resources to the Cumberland after the Emerald closes.
"Legislators and the company are working very closely to minimize the impact," he said.