Statement is Made by Superintendent – Cost of Production Cannot Meet Gov’t Price.
SOME WILL PROFIT, OTHERS LOSE
“Some mines will profit greatly, while others will be compelled to cease operations,” was the comment of Superintendent Jos. Hemmings Wednesday, when he was asked what effect the effect of coal prices by President Wilson would have on the Marceline mines.
The price fixed for coal at the mine, “mine run,” for Missouri, is S2.70. This price, Mr. Hemmings says, will enable some of the mining districts to grow rich, while in others it will be impossible to continue the work.
At Richmond, for instance, the cost of production runs around $1.10, in the Bevier fields the cost of producing the coal is only 78 cents, while in the Marceline mines it runs as high as $1.34. Another disadvantage here is the large amount of work to be done to keep the mines in working order, props and clearing away of falling rock and dirt, which is a large item in the expense account. The coal company employs 43 men in the mines and on top, approximately, in addition to the miners, and this is a very large number of company men, many more than mines in other localities have to use, making this expense larger.
Mr. Hemmings says very emphatically that if the coal is to be sold at S2.70 the Marceline mines will be compelled to shut down, and this is something no one in this vicinity wants to see happen, but how the situation is to be handled is not yet clear.
The prices fixed by the coal dictator appointed by the president are provisional, and are subject to reconsideration when the entire method of administering the food supplies of the country shall be satisfactorily organized, so that there remains a possibility of an arrangement by which the prices may be properly adjusted here.
The price of coal. mine run, at the Marceline mines, is $3.90 per ton.
August 24, 1917, The Marceline Herald