A Campbell River coal mine says it is suspending operations indefinitely, citing a prolonged and steep decline in coal prices and changes in market demand.

Up to 66 workers at Quinsam Coal face job cuts, the company said in a statement Friday.

It said the mine will be placed into “care and maintenance,” but existing supply contracts will still be honoured.

“This is a sad day for us. As an important contributor to the mid-Vancouver Island economy, coal from Quinsam has been an important source of locally-sourced fuel and raw material feedstock,” Quinsam Coal said in a statement.

The mine has been in operation since 1987.

Other coal companies across Canada have made major workforce cuts as the country’s coal export market continues to decline.

Vancouver-based mining company Teck Resources Ltd., which operates six steelmaking coal mines, was forced to cut some 1,000 jobs to save money after reporting a $2.1-billion loss in its third quarter of 2015.

Alberta’s new NDP government has promised to phase out coal-fired electricity generation in that province by 2030.

Source