Elk Creek mine to close, 115 more laid off

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SOMERSET, Colo. (AP) A Somerset coal mine where 150 workers were laid off in October will close permanently, putting another 115 out of work.

Oxbow Mining said Monday it will idle its Elk Creek Mine in Somerset. That follows the loss of 142 jobs in October at the Paonia-area mine. The mine has struggled since a 2012 fire crippled production.

A year ago, the mine sustained a collapse that ignited a fire that continues to burn despite efforts to seal off the oxygen supply. Dangerous air levels have prevented the retrieval of expensive machinery needed to restore production.

The Denver Post reports that the mine produced more than 6 million tons of low-sulfur coal and employed 350 people at its peak in 2008.

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