Kentucky coal operator files for bankruptcy protection

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A coal operator headquartered in Kentucky, which bought assets from Blackjewel LLC after the company went bankrupt last year, has now filed for bankruptcy protection.

Rhino Resource Partners announced Wednesday it plans to sell all its assets and the assets of subsidiaries to a bidder.

“Rhino has been taking steps to improve both the performance and financial strength of our business,” Rhino’s CEO Rick Boone said in a news release. “We are using Chapter 11 to maximize the value of our business.”

Many of the company’s coal mining operations have been idled since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, WJHL-TV reported. This has led to a decline in revenue, Boone said in court documents obtained by the news outlet.

The coal operator has nearly 550 employees in different states, including Virginia and West Virginia, according to court documents.

The assets they purchased from Blackjewel last year include underground coal mines and a preparation plant in Virginia, the news outlet reported. Those assets were then placed under Jewell Valley Mining, a subsidiary of Rhino.

When Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last summer, it laid-off workers with little notice and issued them bad checks, news outlets said. Coal miners in Kentucky protested the unpaid wages by blocking coal shipments.

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