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Over 1,000 seek Wyoming employment help after coal closures

Over 1,000 people have sought employment help from a Wyoming workforce services office since a coal company declared bankruptcy and two giant mines closed.

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services office manager Rick Mansheim tells the Gillette News-Record most of those people worked for Blackjewel LLC.

The Milton, West Virginia-based company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization July 1.

The Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines outside Gillette in northeastern Wyoming have been closed ever since. Nearly 600 people worked at the vast, open-pit mines, which were among the most productive in the U.S.

Mansheim says nearby mines have hired some of the workers and some companies elsewhere are looking to the Gillette area to hire skilled workers.

Blackjewel seeks emergency financing to reopen its mines and operate during the bankruptcy process.

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