About Massey Energy Co.
Richmond, Va.-based Massey Energy Co. is the largest coal producer in central Appalachia, operating 47 underground and surface mines in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.
It was founded in 1920 as a coal brokering business and began mining operations in 1945.
In 2009, Massey reported coal revenue of $2.3 billion and recorded net income of $104.4 million.
Massey reported employment of 5,851 at the end of 2009. The company has repeatedly fended off organizing drives by the United Mine Workers of America and the union currently represents 76 Massey employees, union spokesman Phil Smith said.
Don Blankenship, the company’s chief executive since 1992, is a staunch defender of the controversial practice of “mountain-top removal” mining, in which peaks are blown off to expose coal.
Massey and Blankenship were on the losing end of a 2009 Supreme Court ruling, which held that judges must step aside from cases involving big money campaign benefactors.
Blankenship had spent $3 million of his own money to help defeat a West Virginia Supreme Court justice and elect his replacement.
The new justice twice cast the deciding vote in appeals that threw out a $50-million jury verdict against Massey for driving a competitor into bankruptcy.
-- Andrew Zajac