Coal company compliance over wage bonds under investigation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office will investigate whether coal companies are posting performance bonds intended to secure employee wages.

News outlets report Blackjewel LLC hadn’t posted the bond with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet when it filed for bankruptcy July 1, causing miners’ paychecks to be clawed back .

Beshear announced the review Tuesday. Kentucky law requires any coal or construction business under five years old to pay the bond to cover payroll for four weeks.

The cabinet has issued Blackjewel a citation including a $366,500 fine for violation of the law.

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Blackjewel says it will reimburse employees by collecting a per-ton fee expected to accumulate $550,000 over the next two years. It says it will also pay workers $450,000 from a deal allowing Kopper Glo Mining to purchase two Blackjewel mines.

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