OWENSVILLE - Gibson County Coal's new south mine near Owensville create 330 new jobs when it's in full production, doubling the company's economic impact on the county, officials said Wednesday.

Alliance Resource Partners CEO Joe Craft made the announcement at Wednesday's dedication of the $200 million facility, confirming he expects those jobs to be filled locally.

The mine is scheduled to open in 2014 and hit peak production of 3.3 million tons of coal per year in 2015.

The average pay will be $75,000 per year.

"We look forward to doubling our economic impact," said Craft.

Craft said some employees at Gibson County Coal's North facility west of Princeton may want to apply for management positions at Gibson South as a way to move up in the company.

He said increased demand from China and India will create an international market for the lower-sulfur variety of coal found in the area, besides the increase to domestic and local suppliers like Gibson Generating Station.

Craft said he sees coal as the low-cost energy of the future, and increased regulations on coal have been "overreaching" legislation that may be focused on ideological, rather than health-based initiatives.

8th District U.S. Congressman Larry Bucshon said in Washington, D.C., some look at coal as an energy solution of the past.

But he said coal creates high paying permanent jobs.

"You can count on me to be a long term friend of coal," he said.

The life of the mine, Craft said, is projected at 15 years. The new facility has an estimated 48.4 million tons of coal reserves, according to the company's website.

Gibson County Coal's North mine on Lyles Station Road, with reserves of 22.1 million tons, produced 3.1 million tons of coal in 2010.

The north mine, which opened in November 2000, employs 323 people.

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