Judge: James River Coal operations can go on

CoalJames River Coal Co. is being allowed to continue its business operations while the company is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A federal bankruptcy court judge on Wednesday approved numerous motions for the Richmond, Va.-based company.

The court ruled that James River can continue to pay wages, salaries and benefits to its more than 1,200 employees and maintain contracts and relationships with shippers and vendors.

Tthe court also approved $110 million in financing to keep the company’s operations rolling during the restructuring process.

James River filed for bankruptcy protection Monday. It says it faces challenges from the weak economy, environmental regulations and competition from natural gas.

The company mines coal used to produce steel and for power generation in Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana.