Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Patriot Coal files for bankruptcy again


One of West Virginia’s largest coal producers has filed for restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Patriot Coal announced Tuesday it’s in active negotiations to sell all of its operating assets to a strategic partner.
The bankruptcy filing for Patriot is the second time in the last three years. It had emerged from an earlier Dec. 2013 filing.
“In light of the challenging market conditions, and after a comprehensive review of our alternatives, the Board and management team have determined that this process represents the best path forward for Patriot and its stakeholders,” Patriot President and CEO Bob Bennett said in a news release announcing the filing.
Patriot said it plans to to continue mining operations and shipments “in the ordinary course” during the restructuring process. The company, which is based in Putnam County and has eight mining facilities in the state, idled two operations in Kanawha County in late-March.
The Samples surface mine and the Winchester underground mine, both part of the company’s Paint Creek operations, were temporarily idled. Patriot blamed the move at the time on a weak market for thermal coal, EPA regulations that have caused the closure of coal-fired power plants, the low-cost of natural gas and the reduction of exports.

Patriot announced April 3 a change in leadership when then president and CEO Ben Hatfield resigned.