One hundred mine employees have returned to work at Carbon County's Sunnyside coal mines now that Geneva Steel has agreed to buy 840,000 tons of coal during the next two years.

Sunnyside Reclamation and Salvage Co. of Boulder, Colo., the owner of coal mines Nos. 1 and 3 in Sunnyside, sent off the first 8,000-ton load of coal by train Tuesday."It's a phenomenal boost for the commercial economy of East Carbon and Sunnyside," said Larris A. Hunting, manager of the state's Job Service office in Price.

The local economy relies heavily on mining operations, he said, and the mine's reopening created an immediate and major increase in the number of jobs in the county.

"What makes the Geneva contract especially noteworthy is that usually when a mine opens or announces an employment increase, it takes work or a contract away from a competitor," he said. "But that is not the case with the Geneva contract because it is not offsetting other jobs."

Most of the rehired workers have been unemployed since last April when Kaiser Coal Co., the previous owner, closed the mines. After filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy two years ago, Kaiser agreed to sell the two mines and its north lease to Sunnyside last month.