Mills Company Wants to Retrieve its Equipment at Blackjewel Mines
Blackjewel LLC, owner of the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines in Campbell County, owes the Wyoming Machinery Co. in Mills $5.9 million.
That doesn't count the approximately $3 million in maintenance and other services it provides monthly to its equipment at the mines, according to an emergency motion Wyoming Machinery Co. filed Friday morning in Blackjewel's Chapter 11 business reorganization bankruptcy case.
A hearing has been set in Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on July 31 to formalize the Chapter 11 filing, which would keep Blackjewel's creditors at bay while it restructures the company.
That's too long a wait for Wyoming Machinery Co., a major supplier of Caterpillar products used at the mines.
Monday, Blackjewel failed to secure $20 million in emergency funding, and then immediately closed the mines and sent more than 600 workers home. It unsuccessfully tried to secure another $20 million, and then was able to get approval for $5 million with the condition that CEO Jeffrey Hoops Sr. resign. That $5 million is mostly to secure equipment at the mines and pay for firefighting services.
Meanwhile, Blackjewel is working on the details of its Chapter 11 filing before the court rules on it July 31.
Friday, Wyoming Machinery Co. said it wants the court to compel Blackjewel to immediately determine whether it can meet its obligations.
If Blackjewel says it can meet its contracts, Wyoming Machinery Co. wants the assurance that it has the money to meet those obligations. If Blackjewel doesn't have the money, the deal is off.
If Blackjewel rejects the agreements, Wyoming Machinery Co. wants to enter the mines and recover its equipment, parts and other materials.
The company also will quit providing maintenance and other services and staffing at the mines.
Wyoming Machinery Co. isn't optimistic that Blackjewel will continue as a going concern.
"The unfortunate events of this case, as previously outlined, call into doubt whether the Debtors can access financing sufficient to fund operations on either a near- or long-term basis," according to the company's emergency motion.
"Every day in which the Debtors are allowed to deliberate over the Agreements, WMC suffers under the threat of increasing damages in the form of mounting post-petition [Chapter 11] claims against the Debtors' estates and danger to its interests in persons and property."
A hearing on the motion had not been scheduled as of Friday morning.