Mining is Wyoming’s lifeblood. That means every crisis in the state’s coal industry has widespread and devastating effects. The latest example came in July when the national coal giant Blackjewel LLC declared bankruptcy and abruptly shut down coal mines across the country, including two in Gillette. Those mines were among the top 10 producing coal mines in the country. Since then WyoFile Reporter Andrew Graham has been covering the fallout. In his latest story on that fiasco, he uncovers the major inequity between the losers and the potential winner.
Above: Employees of Elite Industrial repair a small piece of equipment on July 9. The small Gillete company does repairs and electrical work for coal mines and drillers. When Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy, it owed Elite Industrial $20,000, according to an Elite manager. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)