KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville-based company says they will purchase mines in Southeast Kentucky and will help compensate employees protesting over unpaid wages.
Knoxville-based Kopper Glo Mining said on Facebook they successfully bid for the Black Mountain and Lone Moutain operations in Harlan and Letcher Counties. The company will pay $450,000 of the $2.9 million miners are owed, as well as $550,000 during the next two years.
Attorneys say the miners have priority lien on the $6 million property that should get the money needed to pay back the miners in full.
This comes as hundreds of Blackjewel miners are still waiting on the company to pay wages it owes them. Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy protection on July 1 and suddenly ceased operations in Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia. Hundreds of employees were sent home and many discovered that their last paychecks had bounced.
“Every one of us has families and kids to take care of, everyone of us wants what we earned,” Chris Rowe, one of the original six protesters, said . “If it wasn’t for our community there would be so many families right now with nothing .”
In a Facebook post from Kopper Glo Mining, they said the company has a ‘plan to re-start certain operations and is confident this plan will bring jobs back to many of the former Blackjewel employees.’
Kopper Glo Mining was founded 60 years ago in 1959. It operates mines and a processing facility north of Knoxville in Clairfield, Tennessee.