NORTON, Va. - 3,000 people applied for coal mining jobs through Professional Contracting in Norton, Virginia.
Many people are calling fraud on the promised positions. We sat down with the president of professional contracting and got the answers on what is happening and Eddie Estep said he would follow through with his promise. "800 jobs that were mentioned, 800 jobs will be filled. 50 of them are filled right now," said Estep.
However, Estep says the jobs aren't necessarily for coal right now. "They may have been a carpenter at one time. If they're a carpenter you can place them in a carpenter's job, they get a check and then when everything comes forth with mining, you pull them back into mining," said Estep.
Estep told us the process to reopen a coal mine takes time. "People can't be employed overnight, it just doesn't happen that way," he said.
He says they are working to put the mines in a different name, rather than opening a brand new one to save on costs.
We went and spoke with Randy Moore, the Chief for the Virginia Department of Mines, who told us he hasn't seen any paperwork for the reopening and says nothing can move forward without it. "Companies can come in and do a buy-out and they assume those permits, but still that's a lengthy process, could take up to a month," said Moore.
Estep told us he had an investor back out, which has put a strain on moving things forward, along with rumors Estep says aren't true. "Nobody was ever charged to come in here, this is not an employment company," he said.
Estep says he has other investors and is continuing to find jobs for coal miners until the mines are opened up.
Both the Wise County Sheriff's Office and the Norton Police Department said no one has complained about the company yet and said they encourage anyone who thinks there might be a problem to report it.