Murray making major investments

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Driving along National Road near East Richland, one can see the new 60,000-square-foot headquarters for Murray Energy Corp. rapidly taking shape.

And as Murray officials prepare to move into their new headquarters by June, the company also is investing $77 million in a new preparation plant and new slope and conveyor belt at American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine near Beallsville. This should allow the company to hire about 300 new employees.

Even with much of the Upper Ohio Valley focused on development of the Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas and oil reserves lately, Murray’s investments are letting residents know that coal is still a valuable commodity.

Murray – the parent company of American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine, Ohio Valley Coal Co.’s Powhatan No. 6 mine and OhioAmerican Energy Inc.’s Red Bird West mine – is moving 149 offices into a four-story structure that is well under construction, just off National Road between Ohio 331 and the East Richland Evangelical Friends Church.

A pavilion, small lake and landscaping features will also be included at the 16-acre site.

The new office structure will house the corporation’s central operating, engineering, maintenance, geologic, purchasing, accounting, information systems, environmental and sales staff. Many of these operations are now located in the company’s central office in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike, Ohio.

“Our central staff employees are now located at four different locations in three counties in Ohio and West Virginia, and this has become very inefficient,” said Robert Murray, founder and chief executive officer of Murray Energy. “We can actually show cost savings in having our key staff members at one location, providing a pay-back to the company for the facility.”

Regarding the Century Mine, Robert Edward Murray, vice president of business development and external affairs at Murray Energy, said, “The conveyor belt installed in the slope will be among the largest ever installed in a mine slope.

“The conveyor belt will be 84 inches wide and will have motors driving it that will total 8,000 horsepower. The slope and conveyor belt are a $29 million investment,” he added, noting the preparation plant will be another $48 million investment.

The additional 300 workers will bring total employment at the Century complex to about 1,000.