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CASPER, Wyo. -- Some 1,700 employees of a bankrupt coal mining company would get up to $17.3 million in back pay under a proposed class-action settlement.

The former employees of Milton, W.Va-based Blackjewel in Wyoming and Appalachia could get checks early next year depending on the outcome of bankruptcy court hearings this fall, said Ned Pillersdorf, an attorney for the employees.

"I think it's a very good settlement," Pillersdorf told KTWO Radio.

The employees and their former employer, which filed for bankruptcy in July 2019, reached the tentative settlement in March. The document remained sealed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia until Sept. 1.

Blackjewel all but completely shut down operations, including its vast Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines in northeastern Wyoming, after filing for bankruptcy. The shutdowns put about 600 employees in Wyoming and 1,100 in Appalachia out of work with little indication if or when they would get their jobs back.

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