CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Justice family's Southern Coal Corp. said Tuesday it has secured orders that will allow it to save 500 Appalachian mining jobs and hire workers for 650 new positions.
Roanoke, Va.-based Southern Coal announced what it called "massive call backs and hiring" of miners in Southern West Virginia, Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. In a press release, the company said it had entered into a multi-year agreement with American Electric Power that allows the actions.
Southern Coal is part of the business empire of Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier resort, and is run in part by his son, Jay Justice.
The news release said Southern Coal would be hiring 650 new miners over the coming weeks, and that an additional 500 mining jobs would be saved.
"We are so happy to be able to save the jobs, and hire the 650 new miners, especially at this time of year," the Justices said in the release. "We hope this will make the holidays a little better for those affected."
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called the announcement "wonderful news to the entire Mountain State."
"America is the greatest nation the world has ever known, and that nation runs on coal," Tomblin said in a statement included in Southern Coal's press release.
The press release did not name specific mines or the numbers of workers at individual operations.
Mark Liebermann, a spokesman for Southern Coal, said the mines involved include those operated under the name Kentucky Fuel Corp. in Logan County, W.Va., and Pike and Knott counties in Kentucky. Also involved are the A&G Coal and Virginia Fuel operations in Dickenson and Lee counties in Virginia, and the Sequoia Energy operation near Harlan, Ky.