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Wyoming coal miners left wondering after bankruptcy filing

Wyoming coal workers who were locked out of their jobs after Blackjewel LLC filed for bankruptcy protection are wondering whether they’ll ever be called back to work.

The Gillette News-Record reported Sunday the West Virginia-based company has 580 employees at two open-pit mines in northeastern Wyoming, Eagle Butte, and Belle Ayr.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 1. About 1,700 Blackjewel workers were locked out nationwide.

Melissa Peterson-Worden, who worked in a Blackjewel warehouse, says she and other workers were at first optimistic when company officials told them the bankruptcy would allow the business to reorganize and improve its position.

She says workers were told a few hours later that something went wrong with financing the company was expecting, and they were told to go home.

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