The number of coal miners still employed in Letcher County fell to only 36 in the first quarter of 2017, down 20 from the previous quarter, according to the Kentucky Quarterly Coal Report from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.
Overall, there were 6,261 coal mine employees in the state, down 216 from the quarter ending December 31. The majority, 3,948, are employed in underground mines.
Underground mines produced 80 percent of the coal mined in Kentucky during the first quarter.
Letcher County produced 47,972 tons during the first quarter, down 26 percent from the fourth quarter of last year.
A spokesman for the Energy and Environment Cabinet said six mines are actively producing coal in Letcher County, however employee numbers cited for each of those mines do not match figures from the quarterly report, and some are listed as having so few employees it seems impossible for them to be actively mining. The spokesman, Lanny Brannock, said he was unable to reconcile the figures, and the companies could not be reached at press time.
According to figures from the cabinet, the mines still operating in Letcher County and the number working at each are:
Revelation Energy – 35 employees at Oven Fork
Genesis Group – 5 employees at Walters Branch at Isom
MKJ Mining – 10 employees between Walters Branch and Ky 15 at Isom
Deane Mining – 4 employees near Isaac Fork at Deane
Cumberland River Coal – 1 employee at Eolia
Revelation Energy – 4 employees at Oven Fork