ERP Compliant Coke LLC of Birmingham, which will turn 100 next year, has been purchased by Bluestone Resources Inc. of West Virginia. Bluestone is owned by the Justice family and led by Jay Justice, son of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.
The Birmingham metallurgical coke plant, where most of the 210 workers are affiliated with the United Steelworkers of America, was in danger of closing according to both ERP Compliant and Bluestone officials.
“Our workers are thrilled,” said ERP Compliant Plant Manager Bill Potter in a press release. “To be clear, this plant would have closed soon due to a dwindling coal inventory and inoperable ovens that are necessary to manufacture coke. With Bluestone stepping up to the plate, we can sustain our coal inventory and repair the ovens — adding about 40 more jobs.”
Bluestone leader Jay Justice said the deal is a good one for the Alabama employees and for his firm’s West Virginia workers, too.
“At a time when other coal mining companies are filing for bankruptcy, we’re employing hundreds and putting people back to work,” Justice said.
The Birmingham company’s history page notes that it’s been in operation 24/7 since 1920. It began operations as Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co. in 1920. In 1952, it merged with U.S. Pipe, which was purchased by Jim Walter Corp. in 1969 and went through several organizational changes before being purchased by ERP Compliant in 2016.