CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Pinnacle Preparation Plant is reopening after closing last week.
Bluestone Resources, owned by the family of Gov. Jim Justice, announced the news on Wednesday evening.
Pinnacle Preparation had only been open two weeks before it was shut down.
About a dozen people were working at the Wyoming County plant. Many will now be re-hired, company executives said.
“Our hard-working employees are the lifeblood of our company and our state, and anytime there are layoffs, even temporarily, we know the pain and stress that causes a person and their loved ones,” stated Jay Justice, who leads Bluestone Resources.
“It’s something that we take extremely seriously. That’s why I’m happy to report we are in a position to re-open the plant and get our folks back to work.”
The closure was blamed on market pressures on metallurgical coal.
“Since the recent temporary shutdown – brought on by a drop in the metallurgical coal market – we have been working around the clock to find a solution that would get our workers back on the job,” stated Jay Justice, son of the governor.
Operations at the Pinnacle Mine ceased after Mission Coal declared bankruptcy in 2018. Bluestone Resources purchased earlier this year through bankruptcy proceedings.
The employees were hired in July, and work at the facility resumed in August.
Earlier this summer, Governor Justice expressed optimism about the future of the prep plant.
“We did get the cleaning plant, the property, and the Green Ridge reserve. You know what’s going to happen? The whole area is going to come back to life,” he said in mid-June.
“It’s all dependent upon one thing: can we fit this metallurgical coal into the marketplace? If Jay (Justice) and them can do that, and they can fit it in into the marketplace, whether the market’s Korea or China or India or wherever it may be, then that total number of jobs (between 400 and 500), we’ll be able to achieve that, probably, within a year.”
The statement issued Wednesday evening by Bluestone included a conclusion that made reference to difficult economic times.
“While other coal operations have gone into bankruptcy over the past few years, Bluestone continues to work to protect jobs and create economic growth for communities that rely on it,” the company stated.
“Today, Bluestone employs thousands of people in West Virginia, including coal miners who are the backbone of the state. The company remains committed to weathering the economic challenges facing the coal industry and focusing on its employees.”