Governor visits Blackjewel miners

Published 11:25 pm Sunday, August 4, 2019

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin surprised protesting Blackjewel miners Saturday night when he showed up unexpectedly during a concert hosted by the Kudzu Killers, a Harlan County band. Bevin was given a shirt with the words “No Pay, No Coal” written across the front, which he put on to show his support of the miners and their cause.

“I just wanted to tell you how much I personally respect and appreciate what you’re doing and how much Kentucky does. Because what you have done is represent us with pride, with class, with dignity and what you’re asking for is justice,” Bevin said.

Bevin walked through the protest site, listening to the concerns of the miners and their families. Bevin also commended the community for the support they’ve provided the miners with during a time they’re struggling through.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley’s efforts to support and help the miners throughout the month were applauded by Bevin, who said he was proud of the hard work and dedication Mosley has exhausted while organizing support for the many families impacted by Blackjewel’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The miners were bused to Charleston, West Virginia, Monday morning to attend a bankruptcy court proceeding regarding the future of the mines in the region. Miners were given shirts that read “Pay the Miners First, the Lawyers Last” and “Harlan County Strong” to wear to the hearing.

Mosley said VIP Sports and Jason Capps assisted with covering the cost of the shirts, as well as thanking Coleen Pennington for working on the project with him.

“I would like to thank SOAR – Shaping Our Appalachian Region – and Jared Arnett for assisting us in securing a large tour bus to transport miners,” Mosley said. “I also appreciate Harlan County CAA for committing five 12-passenger vans to transport folks.”

Although there’s no indication that mining will resume, the federal bankruptcy court judge ordered the results of the Blackjewel auction to be released after three days of bidding.

Of the results, Kopper Glo Mining has bid on the Black Mountain and Lone Mountain mining sites and their assets. The company has agreed to pay $7.55 million in cash and royalties with a net present value of $9.1 million as a credit bid and $38.4 million in asset retirement obligations (ARO). Assets not owned by Blackjewel on the property would go to Dean-McAfee Lenders and John Deere Construction and Forestry Company.

The bids are not final until the sale of the mines and their assets are approved in the federal bankruptcy court hearing on Monday.

A complete document detailing the auction results and bids can be found at