News From Terre Haute, Indiana


March 3, 2009

Hundreds turn out for new mining jobs

SULLIVAN — Justin Davidson recently was laid off from his job for the second time in a year. This time, the layoff is likely permanent, he said.

“I need a good-paying job and I don’t want to work fast food,” said Davidson, 21, the father of a 5-month-old baby. “I’m a hard worker. When you’ve got kids, you’ve got to work.”

Davidson was among an estimated 600 people applying Tuesday for around 200 coal industry jobs that should be filled by the end of this year in Oaktown in northern Knox County. The companies doing the hiring, Black Panther Mining and Five Star Mining, anticipate opening two underground coal mines around Oaktown employing at least 400 new people (including this year’s 200) by the end of 2010, a mine official said.

“We have had an amazing response,” said Brad Rigsby, project engineer for Black Panther Mining, LLC, speaking of the turnout for Tuesday’s job fair and a similar event last week in Vincennes. The Vincennes job fair drew more than 1,100 applicants, he said.

“We had no idea we were going to have the kind of response we did,” he said. “We’ve seen applicants from as far north as Indianapolis.”

With four hours left to go Tuesday, about 400 people already had completed job applications in the Sullivan Learning Center on the square in Sullivan. Many applicants said they recently had lost their jobs while others said they were looking for a better job.

The Oaktown mining jobs will pay around $21 per hour and include full family medical, dental and vision insurance benefits, Rigsby said. The jobs also include a 401(k) plan, two weeks of vacation after the first year of employment as well as production and safety bonuses, he said.

“We’re after that solid work ethic,” Rigsby said.

Black Panther and Five Star Mining, both with headquarters in Petersburg, will be operating the mines in Oaktown. However, the coal inside the mines is leased by Vectren Energy Delivery, Rigsby said.

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    March 12, 2010