By Eric Bradner, Evansville Courier & Press

- A Gibson County coal mine is set to close in November, leaving 80 workers to decide whether to relocate to another mine or lose their jobs.

Peabody Energy notified the Indiana Department of Workforce Development this week that it will close one part of its Francisco Mine Complex.

Peabody will close the surface mine there, but keep open its underground mine and preparation facility.

Beth Sutton, a Peabody spokeswoman, said the surface mine, which opened in 1996, had shipped 1.9 million tons of coal in 2008.

"The mine has had a good run," she said, but added that it has reached the end of its viable coal reserves.

"We're providing employees with as much advanced notice as possible to plan the transition, and our goal is to place employees in open positions within our operations," she said.

Sutton said the 80 workers who will be affected will likely have to relocate to continue working for Peabody. She said the company has four other mines in Indiana, and is set to open a fifth, in Sullivan County.

"Within the Illinois basin, we have the number one market position," she said, pointing out that relocation likely would not mean a move to another part of the country.

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