Coal Could Spur Job Growth In LeFlore County

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LeFlore County continually has one of the highest unemployment rates in Oklahoma. But now, a coal mining company says they're planning to bring hundreds of new jobs to the area.

Ouro Mining, Inc. says they want to build the state's third underground coal mine, according to the company's website. The proposed site is just a few miles east of Heavener. Jobs will include both underground and above ground work. They say they're expecting to add up to 400 jobs with the completion of what they're calling 'The Heavener Project'.

LeFlore County Commissioner Lance Smith said the new jobs would be huge for LeFlore County.

"With the closing of Johnson Controls, Wertz Cracker and Whirlpool, we've had several things close here in just the last few years and it's cost a lot of people their jobs," explained Smith.

However, 'The Heavener Project' could change that, according to Smith.

"400 hundred jobs would be tremendous for LeFlore County," Smith said. "There aren't very many opportunities that come along where a company wants to employ 400 people in the county. That's really big for LeFlore County to get 400 jobs."

Joseph Stefani, who lives and works in the Heavener area, agreed saying the jobs are really needed.

"I know I depend on my job a lot," Stefani said."I've got five in my house and it's just me working. So jobs are really important, especially now."

The company says they'll be relying on both railways and waterways to ship the coal out of the state and eventually overseas.

5NEWS did reach out to Ouro Mining, Inc. to see when the jobs are expected to move in to the area, but they did not immediately return our calls.

For more on the Heavener Project, CLICK HERE.