Coal miners who have been displaced due to the end of operations at the Poplar Grove mine in McLean County, Kentucky have an opportunity to meet with the regional Rapid Response coordinator on July 16.
McLean County Judge Executive Curtis Dame said he has heard from some miners that the mine ceased operations on July 3.
A representative for the owner of the mine, Hartshorne Mining, has not responded to a request to confirm the date or the end of operations.
Rapid Response Coordinator Michelle Drake, who is based at the Kentucky Career Center in Owensboro, said the center is closed and meetings with displaced miners are by appointment only.
Drake said she is available to assist the 68 miners who worked at the Poplar Grove mine who have recently been displaced.
Previously 44 miners were laid off from that mine.
Miners displaced from the Poplar Grove mine who have not yet scheduled an appointment at the Career Center can call Michelle Drake at 270-686-2542.
Rapid Response includes a variety of services to assist miners in getting back into the workforce as quickly as possible. It also assists them with unemployment, health insurance and other benefits that may be available to them.
The Poplar Grove coal mine is in western Kentucky, about 30 miles south of Owensboro. The mine opened in December 2018 and has encountered geological and financial challenges.
McLean County Judge Executive Curtis Dame said he has heard from miners who were previously working at the Poplar Grove mine that they were recently told they were no longer needed.
“Last Friday was supposedly the last true day of the mine, that would have been July third," said Dame.
"It’s hard for me to get any true, accurate, official information from the mine. I’ve tried to call different sources to see if I could get some more guidance on where we’re headed, not only with the mine itself, but the property, the loss of the coal leases and revenue,” said Dame.
Dame says Hartshorne paid $125,000 in annual occupational taxes and is up-to-date on paying county taxes and fees.
He said some of the estimated 110 miners who worked at the Poplar Grove mine during the time it was operating lived in McLean County, but many lived in other counties. So in addition to the loss of salaries for the McLean County miners, the county would also be negatively impacted because of the loss of revenue from the miners who came to work from other areas and purchased supplies at local busineses.
Hartshorne Mining is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paringa Resources, based in Perth, Australia.
Hartshorne filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky.