In May of last year, it looked like impoverished areas of eastern Oklahoma would be getting a lifeline. Coal mining, once a vital industry there, appeared to be headed for a comeback thanks to booming international demand.
Local residents were excited about the prospect of hundreds of new jobs when StateImpact first visited Heavener, but the mining project has stalled.
Ouro Mining Company’s massive Heavener Project along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border was supposed to be producing coal — and jobs — by now. In April 2013, locals in Heavener, like waitress Leslea Absire, couldn’t wait.