Despite Sale Approval–Coal Mine Workers still not back on the job

Written by on August 12, 2019

Despite repeated promises made during bankruptcy proceedings last week–the Casper Star-Tribune reports that the sale of two Wyoming coal mines has yet to be finalized and hundreds of workers remain out of work.
A federal judge approved the sale transfer of bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel’s Wyoming mines to its previous owner Contura Energy on Tuesday, opening up the possibility that the idling Powder River Basin facilities would supply coal again. Contura said it planned to “reinstate immediately” 500 jobs at Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines.
But objections from the federal government over outstanding royalty payments and leasing terms have complicated matters. Even with the blessing of the bankruptcy judge, the sale cannot proceed without an agreement between the federal government and the new company. What’s more, bringing back a full crew of employees and resuscitating the local economy may take more than reopening the mines, according to several experts.
As long as negotiations between Contura and the government persist, the public will remain largely in the dark.


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