“Small victory” for coal miners after approved bankruptcy sale

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HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — Major developments in the Blackjewel Coal Mining bankruptcy that left miners out of work and still owed money by the company.

On Tuesday, a federal judge approved bids from two companies to buy some of Blackjewel’s mines, including two in Harlan County.

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Coal miners called the news a small victory and restored some hope after hearing they will be getting paid and maybe even getting their jobs back with a new owner.

However, one issue still remains

“No pay, we stay!” they chanted in a meeting Wednesday with one of their attorneys, Ned Pillersdorf.

So, the protests will continue until the money they’ve earned, but never received, is in their pockets.

Miners talked with Pillersdorf about the sale and what it meant for them.

Some say they still won’t leave the tracks until they’re paid.

Tuesday, the federal judge approved a bid by “Kopper Glo” to buy the Black Mountain and Lone Mountain mines in Harlan County.

Here’s what one of the company’s lawyers told Pillersdorf.

“Ned we just spent $7-8 million we want our money back and the only way we’re gonna get that money back is we’re gonna have to mine coal. We’re gonna hire as many of you guys back as they can is what he told me. When are they gonna open the mines? I don’t know. How many are they gonna employ? I don’t know. How soon are we getting the money? We’re getting the $450,000 sooner than later and the $550,000 will be generated from the royalties,” said Pillersdorf in a video from Tri City News.

He says the $450,000 will cover back wages owed to Blackjewel miners.

But all that, and the additional $550,000 from royalties, only covers half of what the miners lost.

Pillersdorf says they’ll continue their legal fight to get all the money the Blackjewel miners are rightfully owed.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.