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Rhino Resource Partners plans to idle most of central Appalachian coal operations

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky — A Lexington-based coal company says it is temporarily idling most of its coal mining operations in central Appalachia, a region where the industry continues to struggle.

Rhino Resource Partners says it gave 60-day notices to 192 employees that they may be laid off.

Company President Joe Funk says it's happening because of "persistent weakness in the coal markets."

A statement from the company did not say what mines would be idled. The company has two mines in eastern Kentucky and a third that straddles the border of Kentucky and West Virginia along the Tug River. The three mines have about 80 million tons of reserves, according to the company's website.

The company says the final number of employees that will be affected will be based on future market conditions in central Appalachia.

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