Murray opens headquarters

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – After years of running multiple offices throughout the upper Ohio Valley, coal producer Murray Energy Corp. consolidated operations at its new 60,000-square-foot headquarters.

However, founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert Murray said if he had known four years ago how much damage President Obama’s “war on coal” would cause for his industry, he probably would not have built the new structure.

“I am very proud of the commitment we made to the people of eastern Ohio. But due to the destruction of the coal industry, it has not turned out as we had planned because we will not have as many employees as we thought we would have,” said Murray. “We made a plan four years ago to build this building to achieve efficiency and savings – and we have done that.”

The parent company of American Energy Corp.’s Century Mine and The Ohio Valley Coal Co.’s Powhatan No. 6 mine moved the offices into a four-story structure built just off National Road between Ohio 331 and the East Richland Evangelical Friends Church. Murray said the roughly 150 employees who work at the headquarters previously were “scattered” in separate offices located in Belmont, Monroe, Jefferson and Ohio counties.

The new headquarters houses the corporation’s central operating, engineering, maintenance, geologic, purchasing, accounting, information systems, environmental and sales staff.

“Employees within the same departments had to make long distance phone calls to conduct their work. It is much easier to have them under the same roof to communicate with each other,” Murray said.

Murray said Obama’s policies are forcing him to close active mines – and delay or cancel the opening of previously planned new mines. Earlier this year, Murray closed the Red Bird West mine near Brilliant. At the time, 56 people worked at the facility, but employment levels there reached as high as 239 when the mine opened in 2007. Murray also cut 29 mining jobs from the Powhatan No. 6 Mine.

Murray said Obama’s policies are leading to the closure of coal mines and coal-fired power plants throughout the nation. He said this is taking about 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity off the market, leading to increased energy costs for the U.S.