Coal operator Rhino Resource Partners files for bankruptcy protection

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 3:07 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WJHL) — Rhino Resource Partners, one of the companies that purchased assets from bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel last year, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company announced Wednesday that it, along with its subsidiaries, has filed for Chapter 11 and plans to sell all of its assets to a stalking horse bidder “in an effort to maximize value for all stakeholders and allow for the prospect of continued employment and business opportunities at its operating locations.”

In court documents, company officials state they have around 547 employees at coal operations in several states, including Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Rhino Resource Partners purchased several of Blackjewel’s Virginia assets amid its 2019 bankruptcy, including three underground coal mines, a preparation plant, and a rail loadout facility. Those facilities are under a subsidiary named Jewell Valley Mining.

The Blackjewel bankruptcy grabbed national attention after miners blocked a coal train for weeks in protest of unpaid wages.

In court documents, Rhino Resource Partners CEO Richard Boone said market forces have led to declining coal production and revenues within the company.

The company temporarily idled many of its coal mining operations in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.