Just weeks after the state approved a new tax break for coal companies, Walter Energy announced plans for a new underground mine in Tuscaloosa County, calling it the Blue Creek Energy project.
Economic development officials said they expect more than 500 new jobs related to the mine, at an average salary and benefits of $120, 000. Typically, coal miners in the U.S. earn about $58, 000.
The project includes a new coal-loading facility at the Port of Mobile, a rail line in Fayette County to move coal from the mine to existing rail connections and a barge-loading facility in Walker County.
Production of Alabama coal, from both underground and surface mines, has been steadily increasing since 2007. See “Appetites Growling Again for Alabama Coal, ” Business Alabama July 2011.
Walter employs more than 2, 000 people in Alabama and another 2, 000 in operations in West Virginia, Canada and Wales.
By Nedra Bloom