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Walter Energy Plans $1.2 Billion Coal Mining Project in Hoover, Alabama, Creating 530 Jobs

Walter Energy Inc., a coal mine manufacturer, plans to invest $1.2 billion in the Hoover, Alabama region, creating 530 jobs.

Walt Scheller, Walter Energy Executive Officer, said the focus of its Blue Creek Energy Project will be to develop an underground metallurgical coal mine in Tuscaloosa County, a coal terminal at the Port of Mobile, a barge load-out facility in Walker County and a rail spur in Fayette County.

Scheller said about 50 of the Walter Energy jobs will be at the port and the remainder will be in Tuscaloosa, Walker and Fayette counties. Jobs will be created over six years. The annual payroll will be about $45 million, with the average annual pay and benefits at $120,000 per employee.

"These are jobs that are going to be around for 30 or 40 years," Scheller said. State tax incentives played a big part in the firm's decision to expand its operation at this time. "The decision to expand was influenced by the Legislature's recent decision to extend Alabama's tax incentives for new industries to include coal mining operations," he explained.

"Walter Energy would like to thank Governor Robert Bentley and his team at the Alabama Department of Commerce for their leadership and continued support of this very important project," Scheller added. "We would also like to thank members of the Alabama Legislature," he added, "who worked tirelessly to pass House Bill 144, which played a major role in our decision to move forward with this project."

"Today's announcement by Walter Energy represents a significant and long-term investment in the State of Alabama and our local communities," Governor Robert Bentley said. "This is a perfect example of how development incentives lead to new jobs and new opportunities for people across the state. I appreciate Walter Energy's continued commitment to Alabama with this project."

Once operational in 2018, the Blue Creek Energy mine will be located near Brandon School Road and Highway 69 North in Tuscaloosa County. Construction in Fayette and Walker counties will be ongoing while the mine is being developed. The coal terminal at the Port of Mobile will be operational in approximately two years.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard said he expects more bills aimed at creating jobs will pass before the legislative session ends in mid-May. "The recession taught us that we must keep innovating and keep finding ways to give Alabama a competitive edge," he said.


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