Two weeks after reopening, Pinnacle prep plant is shut down

PINEVILLE, W.Va. — A dozen workers at the Pinnacle Mine’s preparation plant in Wyoming County have been laid off, and the site has been shut down indefinitely, according to the owner.

The employees were hired in July, and work at the facility resumed in August, after the property was purchased through bankruptcy proceedings by Bluestone Resources, Inc., which is owned by the family of Gov. Jim Justice.

Earlier this summer, 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.”

Operations at the Pinnacle Mine ceased after Mission Coal declared bankruptcy in 2018

A Bluestone Resources spokesman issued a statement Monday saying a downturn in the market had led to the layoffs.

“There has been a drop in the metallurgical coal market and these layoffs are necessary at this time. Management always regrets making any layoffs and these decisions are never taken lightly.”

According to the company, the closure will not affect the nearby Greenridge Mine, which also was purchased by Bluestone as part of the Mission Coal bankruptcy.

A clarification statement was issued Tuesday:

“This will have no impact on Greenridge whatsoever. Development of the Greenridge Mine remains full steam ahead and when the Mine is started it will employ a tremendous number of people. The coal from Greenridge can be processed at Bluestone’s existing K2 facility if necessary.”

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