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Nearly All Kayenta Mine Workers to be Laid Off Ahead of NGS Closure

Peabody Energy/Wikimedia Commons

Almost all of the workers at the Kayenta Mine on the Navajo Nation are facing layoffs in the coming weeks. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, Peabody Energy will cease operations as its sole coal customer, the Navajo Generating Station, is also slated to close.

Peabody Energy filed a notice with the State of Arizona two months ago that its 265 mine employees could soon be let go. Nearly all are members of the Navajo Nation. The company says it’ll ship out its final loads of stockpiled coal to the Navajo Generating Station near the end of this month.

A company spokesperson says they’re helping workers with unemployment services, and the layoffs are being handled in accordance with its labor agreement.

It comes despite the need for a continued workforce at the mine site for environmental reclamation expected to last several years.

The Kayenta Mine’s only customer, NGS, will close in December. About 500 employees are still operating the plant, but many others have retired, resigned or have been reassigned elsewhere.


Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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