Colorado coal jobs drop to less than 1000 as Tri-State New Horizon mine shuts
Operators of the New Horizon coal mine in western Colorado shut down production Thursday and prepared to start restoring land — continuing coal’s collapse as a source of electricity.
Meanwhile, the federal government indicated it will allow expansion of another Colorado coal mine, Arch Coal’s West Elk mine, allowing access into roadless forests.
Coal production around Colorado has dwindled to record low levels, due in part to competition from wind power and other renewable sources of energy that can be cheaper and cleaner.
Closing the New Horizon dropped the number of active coal mines in Colorado to seven and the total employment to 995. That’s down from 2,118 jobs in 2003. Colorado mines produced 12.8 million tons of coal in 2016, down from 18.7 million in 2015, continuing a 67 percent decrease since 2004.