Feds ask court to halt transport of Blackjewel coal in Virginia until miners get paid


Blackjewl mine site in Harlan County, Kentucky, on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (Madisen Keavy / WATE)

CHARLESTON, W.V. (WJHL) – Federal officials have asked a bankruptcy court to halt the transport of Blackjewel coal in Virginia until the company’s employees are paid.

The Department of Labor filed a request to prevent nearly 37,000 tons of coal from being transported from the Raven Dock loadout in Raven, Va. and the Flat Rock Prep Plant in Honaker, Va.

The coal belongs to West Virginia-based Blackjewel, which filed for bankruptcy protection on July 1 and still owes wages to many of its 1,700 employees.

The labor department says the coal at Raven Dock and Flat Rock is “hot goods” and that transporting it would violate a federal law that prohibits shipping goods produced by employees who haven’t been paid.

The department says there is about 20,000 tons of metallurgical coal worth at least $2.5 million stockpiled in train cars at Raven Dock and about 16,800 tons of coal at Flat Rock.

In its request, the department claims Blackjewel continued to move coal from its Lone Mountain loadout in St. Charles, Virginia after it filed for bankruptcy.

Last week, the department asked the court to halt the transfer of coal from Blackjewel’s mines in Harlan County, Kentucky after miners blocked a loaded coal train from leaving a mine in protest of unpaid wages. 

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