New Wyoming mine owner at odds with Komatsu over big shovels
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New Wyoming mine owner at odds with Komatsu over big shovels

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New Wyoming mine owner at odds with Komatsu over big shovels

This Jan. 21, 2016 photo shows the Belle Ayr Mine near Gillette, Wyo. 

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — The new owner of two Wyoming coal mines is at odds with the owner of two huge industrial shovels, a dispute that could affect the mines’ ability to continue operating.

Eagle Specialty Materials has been using Komatsu’s shovels without permission and compensation, Komatsu alleged in a filing in U.S. bankruptcy court for southern West Virginia.

A stay on assets preventing Komatsu from reclaiming its property should be lifted, the company told the judge in the case.

Eagle Specialty Materials acquired the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines in a bankruptcy sale in 2019.

Eagle Specialty Materials claims in court filings the shovels were part of its deal to buy the mines following the bankruptcy of Milton, West Virginia-based Blackjewel, the Gillette News-Record reports.

The overall deal enabled the Wyoming mines to return to normal production and hundreds of miners to return to work after more than three months off the job.

The shovels are colossal pieces of equipment, with a ladder to reach the cab and tall enough to load dump trucks that are themselves as big as small houses.

The shovels are essential to operations at both mines, Eagle Specialty Materials, an affiliate of Jasper, Alabama-based FM Coal, warned the court.

“If the automatic stay is lifted, the two Wyoming mines will not be able to operate and hundreds of coal miners and related workers will immediately be out of work, leaving their financial future in doubt,” Eagle Specialty Materials stated in response to Komatsu’s motion.

Eagle Specialty Materials acknowledges Komatsu, a Japanese company, is owed money but “disagrees with the amount Komatsu claims is owed,” Eagle Specialty Materials asserted in court documents.

Extensive discussions between the two companies have so far been unsuccessful, according to Eagle Specialty Materials.

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