Call-back letters are going out to employees of Kaiser Coal Co. who have been out of work since April, says Ken Ball, president of Sunnyside Reclamation and Salvage Co.
Recall of the workers began following Monday's action by a U.S. bankruptcy court judge in Denver giving permission for Sunnyside Reclamation and Salvage to buy Kaiser Coal Co.'s No. 1 and No. 3 mines.Included in the sale to Sunnyside Reclamation, a subsidiary of Colorado Coal and Coke based in Boulder, Colo., is Kaiser's north lease, which contains an estimated 50 million tons of coal reserves.
Ball said it will probably take two to three weeks for workers to trickle back. Some may have taken other jobs or left the area. Also, cleanup and mine safety work must be done before production begins. Actual mining of coal should start by mid- to late March, he said.
A collective bargaining agreement has been signed with the United Mine Workers of America. Initial employment levels will be lower than when the property was idled in April 1988. At that time, Kaiser employed 189 union and 45 salaried people.
Ball said initially 83 union and 21 salaried people will be hired. In the salaried category, more may be hired as needed to fill in gaps. Total employment will depend on the coal markets that are developed, he said.
Sunnyside Reclamation is looking to Geneva Steel Co. at Orem as its principal market. A coal purchase agreement is being signed this week. "We expect to ship 35,000 tons per month to Geneva, which will replace coal Geneva has been getting from Kentucky."
Both the Sunnyside and the Kentucky coal are high-volatility metallurgical coal, which Geneva blends with the medium-volatility metallurgical coal it buys from other sources.
Its main source for medium-volatility coal has been Mid-Continent Coal Co. in Colorado. At times, Geneva has required more than Mid-Continent could supply and has bought on the spot market, Ball said.
"We hope also to be able to fill this need," Ball said.
Ball said Sunnyside Reclamation will operate the No. 1 mine, keeping No. 3 as a backup. He said the company is negotiating with Mellon Bank, one of Kaiser's creditors, for purchase of the longwall mining machine in the No. 1 mine.