Alpha files Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

By Amelia Holliday -

BRISTOL, Va.—Yet another energy company that operates coal mines in Southeastern Kentucky has begun preparing for the worst. Alpha Natural Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Alpha, which operates around 60 coal mines throughout Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming, is the fourth coal producing company to file for bankruptcy protection in the last two years. James River Coal Company, Rivals Patriot Coal Corp., and Walter Energy Inc. have already sought bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal reported in anticipation of the bankruptcy filing on Sunday that Alpha would be filing to help cut the more than $3 billion debt the company has accumulated since coal prices and the coal industry have taken a sharp dive in the last three years.

“The Bristol, Va., company, one of the largest U.S. coal producers, hasn’t completed the terms of a restructuring plan but will likely sell some of its best mines or turn them over to creditors and close others during its trip through bankruptcy court,” the Journal reported.

Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.

By Amelia Holliday

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