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PHOTOS: Blackjewel Miners Continue Blocking Railroad In Southeastern Kentucky

Curren Sheldon

Unpaid minersspent a fourth day Thursday on a Kentucky railroad protesting Blackjewel Mining, as a bankruptcy court prepared to sell off the company’s assets.

The miners were left without pay when Blackjewel, the country’s sixth-largest coal company, abruptly declared bankruptcy last month and paychecks bounced. They’re blocking delivery of a load of coal until they get their pay.

Miners tried to stay cool as the sun beat down on the tracks. Many, like miner John Smith, say that despite the bankruptcy and industry decline they still hope to return to work soon.

"If they’d have paid us, none of this would have happened," he said. "We’d just be on unemployment and looking for a job."

A federal bankruptcy court arranged an auction of Blackjewel properties this week, and a court hearing is scheduled for Monday. It’s not yet clear if the buyers will bring Blackjewel’s miners back to work. Miners say they hope to attend that hearing to make their voices heard.

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