The Pennyrile Area Development District held their Board of Directors meeting in Madisonville Monday and heard a presentation from the Alliance Coal Company.
A group of PADD members were able to visit Warrior Coal, a coal mine in Hopkins County, and Director of Employee and Community Programs Kim Humphrey says coal mining isn’t pick axes and shovels anymore, as technology has advanced.
She says their mines, including in Hopkins County, have some of the most up-to-date technology concerning safety, including tracking devices that shut machines off if you get too close.
Alliance Coal Company has mines mostly in Kentucky, including Warrior Coal in Hopkins County, which employs 425 people and mines about 3.5 million tons of sellable coal.
Humphrey says people often worry about the future of coal, but there are 131 million tons of foreseeable coal left to mine in Hopkins County and millions of tons more in the state.
She says most people who work in their mines make an average of $80,000 a year but their biggest challenge is finding skilled workers. They’ve been working closely with Area Development Districts to create job pipelines in local colleges and make other options.
Humphrey says the most important thing they do is mine coal that is used to create electricity, which in turn helps keep the lights on, purify water and more, to help people stay healthy and happy.