Alpha Natural closes eight coal mines, retrenches 1200 workers

Alpha Natural Resources has announced the closure of eight coal mines in Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as the reduction of its workforce by 1,200 heads.

America's second-largest coal producer in terms of revenue has framed the closures and retrenchments as part of a "strategic repositioning plan" to streamline operations in the face of a changing market environment.

CEO Kevin Crutchfield also cited a diminishing domestic market for coal due to the US's shift towards cleaner energy sources.

The staff cuts are slated to commence this Tuesday and continue until the end of the first quarter.

Global commodities producers have taken a beating this year with spot prices for coal and iron ore declining as China's maturing economy slows and first world export markets continue to languish.