ABINGDON, Va., May 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE:ANR), the nation's leading supplier of metallurgical coal, introduced an unprecedented, multi-year package of rewards and incentives Thursday to the company's more than 3,600 employees.
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The package was presented at Alpha's 58 mining sites in four states. Employees were given ownership in the company in the form of a grant of 25 shares of company stock. Employees were also informed they no longer have to contribute to health, dental and vision insurance premiums. Additional incentives include semi-annual bonuses for operating personnel based on continued service to the company, and rewards for mine rescuers and trainers, including cash payments for participating on the all-volunteer teams and vacation money to use in their time off with families.
Alpha also unveiled an energy relief/fuel assistance program to help employees cope with higher commuting expenses due to high gas prices.
Costing more than $13 million in the first year alone, the package is worth more than $3 per hour to the average employee.
To convey their appreciation, several members of Alpha's executive team personally handed out share ownership certificates and information on the other rewards at a number of company mines in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
"We see this as a significant day -- maybe the most significant -- in our company's history," said Michael Quillen, Alpha's chairman and CEO, who met with miners at the company's Cucumber, W.Va. mine. "Alpha's shareholders have benefited from their dedication and hard work, and it's time that we publicly acknowledge their efforts."
Quillen went on to say: "Alpha wants each employee to know that we value their contribution. It's our way of expressing the great admiration we feel for their continuing loyalty. We also recognize how all employees have been hit hard with increased fuel costs, and a lot of them have to drive long distances to reach our mines. We appreciate what they do for the company, and we intend to help them out with fuel assistance."
Alpha President Kevin Crutchfield also met with employees throughout the day. "Today, coal finds itself squarely in the middle of our nation's discussion of energy independence," Crutchfield said. "It's time we readied ourselves for an exciting future by first publicly expressing our appreciation for our miners and their families and, secondly, by introducing incentives to attract and retain the next generation of miners."
For the mining industry as a whole, a maturing workforce is leading to a shortage in the supply of qualified miners.
According to the National Mining Association, the main trade organization for coal producers, the average coal miner is 50 years old. With demand for coal growing worldwide, the coal industry expects that it will need 50,000 new miners in the next 10 years.
About Alpha Natural Resources
Alpha Natural Resources is a leading supplier of high-quality Appalachian coal to electric utilities, steel producers and heavy industry. Approximately 89 percent of the company's reserve base is high Btu coal and 82 percent is low sulfur, qualities that are in high demand among electric utilities which use steam coal. Alpha is also the nation's largest supplier and exporter of metallurgical coal, a key ingredient in steel manufacturing. Alpha and its subsidiaries currently operate mining complexes in four states, consisting of 58 mines supplying 11 coal preparation and blending plants. The company and its subsidiaries employ more than 3,600 people.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release includes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on Alpha's expectations and beliefs concerning future events and involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. These factors are difficult to predict accurately and may be beyond Alpha's control. The following factors are among those that may cause actual results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements: market demand for coal, electricity and steel; future economic or capital market conditions; weather conditions or catastrophic weather-related damage; our production capabilities; the consummation of financing, acquisition or disposition transactions and the effect thereof on our business; our ability to successfully integrate the operations we have acquired with our existing operations and implement our business plans for these new operations, as well as our ability to successfully integrate operations we may acquire in the future and implement our related business plans; our plans and objectives for future operations and expansion or consolidation; our relationships with, and other conditions affecting, our customers; timing of changes in customer coal inventories; changes in, renewal of and acquiring new long-term coal supply arrangements; inherent risks of coal mining beyond our control; environmental laws, including those directly affecting our coal mining production, and those affecting our customers' coal usage; competition in coal markets; railroad, barge, truck and other transportation performance and costs; the geological characteristics of Central and Northern Appalachian coal reserves; availability of mining and processing equipment and parts; our assumptions concerning economically recoverable coal reserve estimates; availability of skilled employees and other employee workforce factors; regulatory and court decisions; future legislation and changes in regulations, governmental policies or taxes; unfavorable government interventions in, or nationalization of, foreign investments; changes in postretirement benefit obligations; our liquidity, results of operations and financial condition; decline in coal prices; forward sales and purchase contracts not accounted for as a hedge; indemnification of certain obligations not being met; continued funding of the road construction business; and disruption in coal supplies. These and other risks and uncertainties are discussed in greater detail in Alpha's Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements in this news release or elsewhere speak only as of the date made. New uncertainties and risks come up from time to time, and it is impossible for Alpha to predict these events or how they may affect the company. Alpha has no duty to, and does not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements in this news release after the date it is issued. In light of these risks and uncertainties, investors should keep in mind that the results, events or developments disclosed in any forward-looking statement made in this news release may not occur.
Contact: Donna Hare Communications and Corporate Affairs email@example.com (276) 619-4469
Source: Alpha Natural Resources