500+ Jobs Coming to AL as Coal Mining Company Begins New Project

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By Morgan Hightower

Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced that Walter Energy, Inc., will soon begin development on a new project that will create more than 500 additional jobs in four Alabama counties. The announcement follows the recent approval of incentives that were designed to create new economic opportunities for the people of Alabama.

As part of its Blue Creek Energy Project, Walter Energy, Inc., will develop a new underground metallurgical coal mine in Tuscaloosa County, and a coal terminal will be located at the Port of Mobile. The project will also include a barge load-out facility in Walker County and a rail spur in Fayette County. The Blue Creek Energy Project will require an estimated $1.2 billion capital investment and will create 530 full-time jobs with an average estimated annual payroll of $45 million and an average estimated annual salary of $120,000 (including benefits) per employee.

“Today's announcement by Walter Energy represents a significant and long-term investment in the State of Alabama and our local communities,” Governor Bentley said. “This is a perfect example of how development incentives lead to new jobs and new opportunities for people across the state. I appreciate Walter Energy’s continued commitment to Alabama with this project.”

Walter Energy’s decision came after the Legislature passed, and Governor Bentley signed, House Bill 144 – a measure that expanded Alabama’s existing statutory incentives to the coal mining industry. The Legislation was sponsored by State Representative Bill Roberts and State Senator Greg Reed.

“Walter Energy would like to thank Governor Robert Bentley and his team at the Alabama Department of Commerce for their leadership and continued support of this very important project,” Walt Scheller, Chief Executive Officer of Walter Energy, said. “We would also like to thank members of the Alabama Legislature, especially House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Representative Bill Roberts and Senator Greg Reed, who worked tirelessly to pass House Bill 144, which played a major role in our decision to move forward with this project.”

Walter Energy, which is headquartered in Hoover, already operates coal mines in Alabama, West Virginia, Canada, and Wales. The company has approximately 4,400 employees with more than 2,100 in Alabama.

Once operational in 2018, the Blue Creek Energy mine will be located near Brandon School Road and Highway 69 North in Tuscaloosa County. Construction in Fayette and Walker counties will be ongoing while the mine is being developed. The coal terminal at the Port of Mobile will be operational in approximately two years.

(Information Source: Gov. Bentley's Press Office)

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