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Jim Justice buys back coal company from Russians

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Jim Justice on Tuesday announced the repurchase of the Bluestone Coal Corp. he sold to a Russian mining conglomerate in 2009.

Russian coal producer Mechel (pronounced MAKE-ull) has been under pressure to reduce debts of around $9 billion, and had idled the Bluestone operation. That debt represents about six times the company’s market capitalization.

Justice told The Register-Herald on Tuesday that he would be restarting the Bluestone operation.

“Everything is shut down,” Justice said. “ I’m going to start it back up as I can.”

The new company is projected to create 150 coal mining jobs within the first three months.  Justice said at one time the metallurgical coal operation employed about 500 workers.

“The biggest thing from my standpoint is I’m confident that because we have had Bluestone in the past that we can make a go of it,” Justice added. “And I am delighted — and I emphasize delighted — that we’ll be able to call some good coal miners with great families in West Virginia back to work.”

Bluestone has four major cleaning plant operations and multiple mining sites stretching across McDowell and Wyoming counties.

“Today’s announcement is great news for our state’s hardworking miners and their families,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “West Virginia coal miners are the best in the world…


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