Kentucky-Based Coal Company Files for Bankruptcy

Jul 16, 2019

This story was updated on 7/16/19 at 4:35 p.m. EST.

A coal company with mines in Kentucky and West Virginia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Blackhawk mining says in a release that the restructuring will allow it to eliminate more than 60 percent of its debt. The company has 10 mining complexes and mines metallurgical coal, which is used in the steelmaking process.

Blackhawk CFO Jesse Parrish said despite strong met coal prices over the last two years, the company couldn't tap into investment capital and struggled to grow its production, in part due to labor shortages and other infrastructure issues. As a result, Parrish said the company took on $200 million in debt.

Blackhawk says the bankruptcy process should move swiftly and be completed in 60 days, with no disruptions to the company's 2,800 employees or its customers.

The privately-owned company, based in Lexington, Kentucky, said Monday it has entered into agreements with about 90 percent of its lenders. The restructuring includes all of Blackhawk's wholly owned subsidiaries.

Parrish said the bankruptcy plan "represents a significant step in our ongoing efforts to position Blackhawk for long-term success."

"I want to reiterate to our employees and our vendors that they will be paid, their benefits will be paid," he said in a phone interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting. "Nothing is going to change there."