"The affected positions are in numerous locations spread across our entire organization and are a combination of people in jobs now and vacancies," Pile said in an email message. "We're not prepared to go into that level of detail and certainly not before affected employees have been informed."
In West Virginia, Alpha employed about 5,800 miners during the second quarter of 2013, the latest period for which figures were available Thursday. That's down from nearly 6,700 miners employed at Alpha operations during the first quarter of 2012, according to disclosures filed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Overall, Alpha employs about 11,000 people, including miners and other employees, the company said.
In the lawsuit Alpha is working to settle, the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust and other shareholders filed suit after 29 miners were killed in the April 5, 2010, explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine, in Raleigh County.
The lawsuit alleged that Massey officials misled investors by regularly touting its safety practices as among the best in the industry, while routinely ignoring government standards and systematically hiding violations from federal inspectors.
Alpha bought Massey in June 2011, acquiring the now-closed Upper Big Branch Mine and various liabilities associated with West Virginia's worst coal-mining disaster in a generation.
U.S. District Judge Irene Berger turned down Alpha's efforts to have the shareholder case dismissed, and court records indicate the parties were seeking the help of a mediator to negotiate a settlement.
Berger also delayed the litigation at the request of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin so that the shareholder lawsuit would not interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation of the mine disaster and Massey's safety practices.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.