As nearly 1,700 Blackjewel LLC coal mine workers close in on three weeks since they were locked out, not only is the company scrambling to reopen and begin production again, it’s also racing to retain as many skilled coal miners as possible.

Since the company declared bankruptcy and locked out employees, including nearly 600 in Campbell County who worked at the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines, more than 1,000 people have sought help filing for unemployment and searching for other jobs at the Gillette office of Wyoming Workforce Services, said office manager Rick Mansheim.

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