Citing weakness in the thermal coal market, on Thursday, Arch Coal announced it will lay off workers in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett says Arch Coal will lay off nearly 600 miners in eastern Kentucky. Another 150 miners at a mine in West Virginia will be laid off. Arch's actions will mean a total job loss of 750 full-time positions, with about 79 percent of the jobs in Kentucky, 19 percent in West Virginia, and the rest in Virginia. Arch's East Kentucky complex, in Pike and Martin counties, will be closed, as will the Knott County/Raven complex. Both employ hundreds. Smaller operations, such as a mine near Hazard in Perry County that employs 50, also will be closed. Arch will idle, at least temporarily, Hazard's Flint Ridge complex, which employs 150. The cutbacks will reduce Arch's thermal coal production by more than 3 million tons annually. This is the second major work force reduction for Arch in Kentucky this month. On June 8th, Arch announced it would eliminate 436 jobs in Kentucky but give 286 of those workers the opportunity to relocate to positions in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, for a net loss of 150 jobs. The mine locations affected by the announced closings are the East Kentucky, Eastern and Knott County complexes. Chief Executive John Eaves Eaves says current market pressures and a challenging regulatory environment have pushed coal consumption in the United States to a 20 year low.