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Tennessee based Mission Coal files for bankruptcy

Coal News - Published on Mon, 22 Oct 2018

Image Source: CBS News
CBS News reported that a Tennessee coal mining company that filed for bankruptcy this week is the second coal company to go bankrupt during Mr Donald Trump's pro-coal presidency. It's also the fifth US coal industry bankruptcy in the last three years as competitors in the energy market continue to drive coal into the dust pile. Mission Coal, an operator of three mines in West Virginia and one in Alabama, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection listing about ISD 175 million in debt and just USD 55,000 cash on hand, according to court filings. This small company joins Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal, one of the country's oldest coal companies, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, and Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources, which all have ended up in bankruptcy courts since 2015.

Experts said that competition from other energy sources-super-cheap natural gas in particular-has been the main culprit. Obama-era "clean coal" regulations scuttled earlier this year by the Trump administration has played just a small role in the industry's collapse.

Greg Reed, director of the Center for Energy and the GRID Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, told CBS MoneyWatch recently "Coal plants have been losing market share just on competitiveness alone, to natural gas, for quite some time--even before the EPA regulations came down that accelerated the shutdown of even more plants."

The total stock market value of the country's four largest coal producers has plunged to USD 6.3 billion today from $33 billion in 2011. About 62,000 coal miners have lost their jobs during that time. Further job losses will come: More than a quarter of the U.S.' current fleet of coal plants is projected to shut down over the next 12 years, according to one analysis.

The White House, which has been drafting a plan to prop up the coal industry on national security grounds, has recently abandoned its efforts, according to reports. The fate of Mission Coal helps explain the challenges.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Mon, 22 Oct 2018
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