Pinnacle Prep Plant Workers Laid Off After Plant Idled

WYOMING COUNTY, W.Va (WOAY) – On Saturday, workers at a coal-cleaning plant in Wyoming County were surprised to learn their plant would be idled after  just starting back up. 

Nick Colucci worked as an operator at the Pinnacle Prep Plant, and he was ready to enjoy a weekend off from work when he got a phone call that blindsided him. 

“We got a phone call around 10 o’clock Saturday morning stating that the mines will be idle until further notice and didn’t hear anything else from anybody until late last night ,” Colucci said. “They called and said meet here at 9 o’clock  with no other information. We got here and they said that mines will be— we will be laid off until future notice.”

At the meeting on Monday morning, the miners said the only explanation they had for the 12 who were there was that the coal market had taken a downturn. 

“Every time we would try to answer or ask the HR guy, he would shoot it down or beat around the bush. He never would give a direct answer. He just kept saying marketing marketing marketing,” Colucci said.  

The miners say this was hard to believe considering other mines in the area are still operating. The Wyoming County plant is owned by Jay Justice and has also been overseen by Governor Jim Justice since it’s their family business, Bluestone Resources, Inc. Colucci and others were brought in only two months ago to get the place running again. 

“They said you know, we’re coming back to work for two months, got everything going. We did run for about a week. We ran good coal but it just all of a sudden shut down,” Colucci said.  

Now it’s back to the job hunt for Colucci and the eleven others who were told the same thing. 

“It’s hard to get a job. People see that you come from Pinnacle and they don’t want to hire anybody from here,” Colucci said.

He said he was unsure why that’s the case. Newswatch reached out to the office of Governor Jim Justice and Bluestone Resources, and we did not receive an answer. 

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.