Peabody Coal Files For Chapter 11 Protection

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal miner, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, creating more upheaval in an industry wracked with a changing economic reality.
     The bankruptcy follows that of Arch Coal, the nation’s second largest miner, three months ago. Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal and Walter Energy have also filed for bankruptcy protection.
     Peabody’s mines and offices will continue to operate during the bankruptcy process, but the planned sale of assets in New Mexico and Colorado were terminated after the buyer was unable to complete the deal.
     “We will seek an in-court solution to Peabody’s substantial debt burden amid a historically challenged industry backdrop,” CEO Glenn Kellow told the A.P. “This process enables us to strengthen liquidity and reduce debt, build upon the significant operational achievements we’ve made in recent years and lay the foundation for long-term stability and success in the future.”
     Peabody filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The company, founded in 1833, has obtained $800 million in debtor-in-possession financing facilities. They include a $500 million term loan, a $200 million bonding accommodation facility and a cash-collateralized $100 million letter of credit facility, according to the A.P.
     New environmental regulations have led to numerous mine closures and job cuts. New drilling techniques have freed large amounts of natural gas, driving coal prices lower.

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