Pennsylvania Coal Mines Must Shut Down, Governor Orders

Source: By Will Wade, Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coal miners including Consol Energy Inc. and Contura Energy Inc. must shutter their operations in Pennsylvania after the governor ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to close.

The order took effect Thursday night, according to a statement from Gov. Tom Wolf.

Pennsylvania is the latest state to order commercial activities to shut down as governments move to slow the spread of the coronavirus. California has taken more extreme measures, telling all residents Thursday to stay home, and New York followed suit on Friday.

Consol and Contura both operate coal mines in the state, and neither immediately replied to inquiries Friday. Consol shares slumped as much as 17%, and Contura slid as much as 1.8%.

Pennsylvania issued a list of “life-sustaining businesses,” that included oil and natural gas extraction, but specifically excluded coal mining.

Lucas Pipes, an analyst with B Riley FBR, said in a research note Friday that the worst-case scenario would have operations down through the second quarter, though “a shutdown lasting a week to several weeks is much more likely.”