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GOV. CASEY HAILS RE-OPENING OF FLORENCE MINES

 GOV. CASEY HAILS RE-OPENING OF FLORENCE MINES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Robert P. Casey today


hailed an agreement in principle between the United Mine Workers of America and the operators of the Florence Mining Co. in Indiana County that will re-open two mines and return more than 160 workers to their jobs by March.
 Casey spoke via a special telephone hookup to miners and their families gathered for an announcement of the agreement. The governor and Labor and Industry Secretary Tom Foley had planned to be present for the announcement, but poor flying weather prevented them from leaving Harrisburg.
 The two mines -- the Florence No. 1 and the nearby Heshbon mine, were closed Oct. 31.
 "The United Mine Workers of America and the operator of this mine have worked hard to reach an agreement that would re-open Florence No. 1 and Heshbon Mines," the governor said.
 "It hasn't come easy. Some three months ago, it became obvious that an outside third party might have some success. I directed Tom Foley to convene a series of meetings among mine worker leaders, the mine operator and the utilities that would potentially use the coal.
 "I know all of you worked hard through a lot of long bargaining sessions over the past weeks and months to reach the agreement in principle that we're all celebrating today."
 The mines, situated along the Westmoreland and Indiana county lines, were closed after being sold to Quent Inc. by Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Co. Florence Mine had been a major supplier of coal for the Conemaugh Generating Station No. 1 for more than 20 years. More than 300 miners lost their jobs when the mines closed down.
 Casey directed members of his cabinet to help work out an arrangement through which Conemaugh would continue to purchase coal from Florence Mine at a fixed price for at least two years, thereby allowing the mine to reopen and some of the furloughed workers to be recalled.
 Casey has developed a number of programs and initiatives to aid the coal industry. The Department of Labor and Industry established the Dislocated Coal Miners Project, the nation's first industry-wide program offering dislocated coal miners job training and other assistance.
 Since its creation in 1988, the Miners Assistance Program has provided more than $4 million in state and federal job training funds to assist approximately 1,100 former coal miners in 19 counties.
 /delval/
 -0- 12/23/91
 /CONTACT: Jack McGettigan of the Department of Labor and Industry, 717-787-7530/ CO: United Mine Workers of America; Florence Mining Co.; Department of
 Labor and Industry ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


JS -- PH017 -- 4901 12/23/91 14:53 EST
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Date:Dec 23, 1991
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