McLean County is bracing for an economic hit with the planned closure of a coal mine.
Amid declining coal prices and industry changes, Pennyrile Energy’s Riveredge Mine in Calhoun will cease operations this fall. The mine opened in 2014 and produced 1.3 million tons of coal last year
McLean County Judge-Executive Ed West says the mine paid some employees $25 an hour.
“It’s a good paying job and almost impossible to replace that kind of pay," West stated. "We have families affected and they’re going to be unemployed on November 1st. Going into the holidays is a double whammy.”
About 170 workers will be impacted. West says the mine was recently sold and there’s no plan to open it anytime soon.
McLean County has received nearly half-a-million dollars this year in coal severance funding. West says losing that revenue will be a major hit for the county’s total budget of approximately $6 million.