GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Dozens of coal miners who were put out of work by Blackjewel’s bankruptcy have been hired by another bankrupt mining company in Wyoming, company officials said.
Cloud Peak Energy officials said about 60 former Blackjewel LLC employees will start work Tuesday at its Cordero Rojo and Antelope mines in northeastern Wyoming.
In the company’s announcement Friday, Cloud Peak Energy Senior Vice President Amy Clemetson said the company contacted Wyoming Workforce Services after hearing of the sudden layoffs at Blackjewel earlier this month.
“Given the impact of these layoffs on the Gillette community, we wanted to move as quickly as we could to get people back to work,” Clemetson said.
Cloud Peak filed for bankruptcy itself in May, but its Wyoming mines and its Spring Creek mine in Montana have remained open.
Cloud Peak has $400 million in outstanding debt and plans to auction its mines as part of its reorganization. Prospective buyers have until July 25 to submit bids, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
Blackjewel, based in Milton, West Virginia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month, shutting down two of the most productive coal mines in the U.S. — the Powder River Basin’s Eagle Butte and Belle Ayre mines — and putting hundreds of people out of work.
Multiple coal producers that also include Arch Coal and Peabody Energy have filed for bankruptcy in recent years amid diminished demand for coal-fired electricity.
Blackjewel’s bankruptcy came after the company missed a $1 million tax payment owed to Wyoming’s Campbell County. Campbell County Treasurer Rachael Knust told the Star-Tribune the county attorney’s office will attempt to collect Blackjewel’s unpaid property taxes.
“It goes to the schools, to the hospital, to the cemetery, to the recreation center,” she said. “It doesn’t just affect one person; it affects everybody.”