Coal Bankruptcy

FILE - In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy's Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Contura Energy has made a successful bid at auction of $33.75 million for the assets of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines in Wyoming and Pax Surface Mine in Scarbro, W. Va. They've been closed since Milton, West Virginia-based Blackjewel LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 1. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  (AP) — Contura Energy has made a successful bid at an auction for the assets of three Blackjewel LLC coal mines, including two of the top producers in the country.

The results are subject to a federal bankruptcy judge’s approval Monday in Charleston. The judge ordered the parties to post the outcome by a Sunday morning deadline after he had heard nothing when the auction went into a third day Saturday.

Bristol, Tennessee-based Contura Energy’s $33.75 million bid was an increase from its original offer of $20.6 million as the stalking horse bidder for the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines in Wyoming and Pax Surface Mine in Scarbro, West Virginia. They’ve been closed since Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 1.

Successful bids totaling $59.44 million also were made for Milton, West Virginia-based Blackjewel’s other eastern U.S. assets.

The results did not indicate how many mines would reopen and potentially enable hundreds of idled miners to return to work. Contura Energy did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

In a statement, Blackjewel said it “believes the proposed transactions generate the maximum value possible for each of Blackjewel’s assets, provide a path to reestablishing safe, sustainable operations and, importantly get the majority of our employees back to work.”

The auction came after miners who said they hadn’t been paid by Blackjewel recently blocked the transport of coal along train tracks near Cumberland, Kentucky. Knoxville-based Kopper Glo Mining LLC was the highest bidder at $7.55 million for the Black Mountain property where those miners worked along with Blackjewel’s Lone Mountain complex along the Virginia-Kentucky line.

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