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Jim Justice calling 200 W.Va. miners back to work

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Jim Justice announced Monday that 200 coal miners will be called back to work for Bluestone Resources Inc. at the Coal Mountain and Red Fox mine complexes in Wyoming and McDowell counties.

Justice, whose company originally owned the mines, recently purchased them back from the Russian company Mechel OAO, who idled the mines more than one year ago.

 Although there were many complex issues involved in his decision to purchase and restart the mines, “It was the right thing to do,” he said.

Justice said he believed the mines might have gone into bankruptcy or the Russian company could have backed away from the operations completely, leaving retired United Mine Workers of America without retirement benefits and leaving the state of West Virginia responsible for land reclamation efforts.

“There was a real possibility they (Mechel OAO) could have just walked and left everyone holding the bag. With all that at play — and you know how I feel about West Virginia — the last thing on earth we needed was another bad outcome. If they had just left, it would have been tragic,” he explained.

““This is a great day for these families in the wake of all the devastation that has happened to the coal industry. I appreciate my relationship with all the hardworking people and officials of the UMWA.”

With the purchase, Justice has assumed $102 million in retirement liability.

Justice is in the process of hiring now…


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