City Manager: Mine Closures Will Affect Casper
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization filed by Blackjewel, LLC, the closures of two mines and the layoffs of nearly 700 workers in Campbell County on Monday will affect Casper in several ways, City Manager Carter Napier said Tuesday.
"It does have a ripple effect on our community, without a doubt," Napier said.
Casper-area residents commute regularly to the mines in the area near Wright, some work for equipment vendors, some maintain heavy equipment, and some have offices in Gillette, Napier said.
"They will undoubtedly be affected if, particularly if this type of trend continues, and mines continue to feel the blows of the direction that the energy industry is going right now," he said.
For example, Blackjewel listed Wyoming Machinery in Mills as a creditor in its bankruptcy petition. Blackjewel owes Wyoming Machinery $5.9 million, according to the petition.
Napier was the former city manager of Gillette, said he saw major impacts on social services when Peabody Energy and Arch Coal announced the layoffs of 435 workers at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine and the Black Thunder Mine respectively in March 2016.
Layoffs happened in other energy-related industries as well, he said.
Gillette social services usually sent help to other places, but then it was receiving services, he said.
"As far as what we see here in Natrona County this time around, I suspect that there may be some impact, but I doubt that it will hold a candle to what they'll see up in Campbell County," Napier said.
Gillette continues to feel the effects from the bankruptcy of Cloud Peak that will affect Campbell and Sheridan counties and southern Montana, he added.
"These kinds of issues are no small issue for the state of Wyoming, even though it happens to be in Campbell County," Napier said. "The state will really reel from these kinds of developments."