Coal Mines File for Bankruptcy and send 700 Workers Home

Written by on July 3, 2019

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that two Wyoming mines closed and sent 700 workers home on Monday afternoon after their owner filed for bankruptcy.
Blackjewel LLC–which operates Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines near Gillette, sent the workers home after a bank denied the company $20 million in financing to continue operations during bankruptcy proceedings–CEO Jeffery Hoops said.
Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr are the fourth- and sixth-largest producing coal mines in the country. The sudden closure hearkens back to March 2016, when two nearby mines laid off more than 460 workers, touching off economic shock waves that are still being felt in the Powder River Basin today.
Blackjewel owes at least $500 million in liabilities, including about $6 million owed to employees, according to court documents. Its financial problems–along with much of the coal sector–come amid increased competition from natural gas and renewables.

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