Monday, August 12, 2019

Another major Central Appalachian coal company, Cambrian, declares bankrupcty

Central Appalachia, already reeling from the recent shuttering of Blackjewel, has been dealt another blow as another major coal producer declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"According to filings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Cambrian Coal LLC plans to put virtually all of its assets up for bid and, pending court approval, will auction them off next month," Will Wright reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. CEO Jim Booth resigned less than two weeks before Cambrian declared bankruptcy.

Cambrian, which employs about 660 people in three major operations in Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia, has kept its mines open and continued to pay employees through its bankruptcy proceedings; it's unclear what will happen to employees and mines if the sale is approved and successful, Wright reports.

The bankruptcy is mostly because Cambria grew by purchasing mines and other assets from large coal companies. "Company President Mark Campbell said in a court motion that the bankruptcy was largely caused by debt it acquired while buying up other coal companies, and by the general decline of the thermal coal industry," Wright reports. Cambria owes millions of dollars to various businesses and government agencies in Kentucky and Virginia.

"A proposed sale order, if approved, would set a Sept. 11 bid deadline for Cambrian’s mines. The company would then hold an auction Sept. 18, and a sale hearing Sept. 24," Wright reports.

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