peer reviewed / Despite the promises that the just transition will bring more democracy and prosperity, there are legitimate fears that, in some regions, the pre-existing inequalities will be reinforced rather than rectified. Questioning how community resilience can be stimulated prior to and during coal mining closures, this paper focuses on Jiu Valley, a coal mining region in Romania. Using empirical and action research methodologies, this case study underlines the importance of considering the level of agency and different agendas of stakeholders regarding both the vision of their common future and the timeline for implementation. The case study underlines shortcomings in implementing a just transition, including the issue of governance and mistrust towards local and national authorities, difficulties in orchestrating individual agendas to launch a collective action for the future of the region and, not least, poor information and delays of the mine closures. Concerning the hypotheses about awareness, preparedness and transition delays, this study pointed out some of the mechanisms that explain the scarce preparedness and why, both closure and transition, were repeatedly postponed. Furthermore, the research profiled the different actors and highlighted the challenges to address and the roles of stakeholders to contribute to a just transition.