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MEEKER I Employees of Colowyo Mine were notified last week of a possible sale of the coal company.
“Colowyo has not been sold, but we are investigating a potential sale,” said Mark Roberts, director of commercial planning and business development for Colowyo. “Last week, we were in the process of letting employees know (about a possible sale). We wanted them to hear it from management and not from somebody else. We like to be transparent.
“We do this from time to time, look into options,” Roberts said. “It may or may not sell, but our intent is to fully pursue it. It doesn’t mean we will do a transaction; it just means we’re looking hard at it. Different companies look at transactions from time to time. Some go through, some don’t. All we’re doing right now is taking a look at it and seeing what happens.”
Asked if there was a timeline for the possible sale, Roberts said, “It could happen quickly … as early as May, we told employees, or it could take longer. There’s no need for us to rush. We’ll just do it in a way that makes sense.”
Employee reaction to the news was varied, Roberts said.
“As with anybody, there will be a mixed reaction,” Roberts said. “Some look at it positively. They view it as an alternative to keep the mine open beyond 2017.”
That’s when the mine’s current contract expires.
“There’s nothing new on that front,” Robert said of the company’s efforts to secure a new long-term contract. “
Colowyo announced in December it wanted to reduce employment levels by about 10 percent, from about 300 to the 270 range, for the northwest Colorado mine, which has been in operation since 1977.
“We’ve completed our reduction in force and met our targets with a combination of voluntary and involuntary reductions,” Robert said.
Anticipated lower production levels were the reason for the employment reduction.
“We’ll continue to do that (pursue a major long-term contract beyond 2017), but you never know how things will work out,” Roberts said. “It’s business as usual for now.”