Kemper power plant changes leads to coal mine layoffs
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KEMPER COUNTY ENERGY FACILITY
MS Power

Hundreds of jobs could be at risk now that the controversial clean coal portion of a Mississippi power plant has been shuttered.  MPB's Alexis Ware reports.

Liberty Fuels Company, the group that provides lignite coal to Kemper County Energy Facility, says 75 Mississippi coal miners will be out of work soon. The layoffs are because of uncertainty surrounding continued gasification work at the power plant.

Matt Jones is with Liberty Fuels Company.  

"The majority of these folks are local to either Kemper County or directly a surrounding county. They have all played a significant role in building this mine. It's a world class coal mine. We're very thankful for what they've done for this company for this community, and right now we're just trying to make sure we can do everything we can to help them transition." 

Kemper County Energy Facility was expected to provide about 500 jobs once it became fully functional. However, the clean coal work never went into effect. Now, Mississippi Power has suspended the gasification portion of the plant. Mississippi Power spokesperson says the company could see 250 layoffs. 

Craig Hitt is with the Kemper County Economic Development Authority. He's working to help those facing unemployment find other work. 

"Welding opportunities both in Meridian and Louisville and Philadelphia and surrounding counties, construction opportunities in the region as well. We're just working to try to help these individuals locate possible new employment and put them in a position to be able to talk with these other companies." 

A decision whether to make the suspension permanent is due in October, according to Mississippi Power.