Westmoreland Mining and its subsidiary Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC decided to suspend operations at its Coal Valley mine due to the significant constraints and challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the outbreak, the company said it has steadfastly prioritized the health, safety and well-being of its employees, the local community and all other stakeholders in its coordinated response to the virus. Based on its latest assessment of the situation, they ultimately concluded that there was no other option than to place the Coal Valley on care and maintenance.

“This is a very difficult call for us to make, however, we know it’s the right decision in the circumstances and one that balances our duty of care to our workforce with the long-term interests of Coal Valley,” Westmoreland COO Joe Micheletti said. “These actions highlight the extent to which the day-to-day activities at this unique mine have been compromised by COVID.”

All the equipment and infrastructure on site, including the processing plant, will be maintained to preserve a state of operational readiness. “We will be transitioning to a small number of employees remaining on site to maintain the property and equipment, as well as to oversee all environmental responsibilities and compliance,” said Stephen Love, Coal Valley’s general manager.

The transition to full care and maintenance activities expected to occur within the next quarter.