Sponsors of the Blackjewel LLC 401(k) Plan, Milton, W.Va., received permission from a bankruptcy court to terminate the plan, which has an estimated $26 million in assets.
Participants were notified Aug. 9 by Blackjewel that they can choose to receive a cash distribution or roll over the balance to a qualified plan. The plan custodian is American Funds and the third-party administrator is Benefits Plans Services Inc. Choices must be made by Sept. 13.
Coal operator Blackjewel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 1. On Aug. 6, U.S. District Judge Frank Volk for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in Charleston, who also cleared the plan termination, approved the sale of three Blackjewel mines to Contura Energy Inc. The sale must be approved by the federal government.
Contura Energy is the stalking horse purchaser of Blackjewel LLC and Blackjewel Holdings LLC assets, including the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte thermal coal mines in the Powder River Basin in Campbell County, Wyo., and the Pax Surface mine in Fayette County, W.Va.
In a July 25 statement about the proposed purchase, Contura said it will try to hire the majority of the displaced Wyoming employees and resume normal mining operations but employment decisions about the West Virginia mine "will be determined based on development plans if and once the mine is acquired."