On the same day Patriot Coal announced WARN notices had been sent to more than 1,000 Kanawha County miners, the company signed an agreement with West Virginia environmental regulators to ante up $50 million for mine reclamation projects.
The agreement with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection comes in the midst of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings in Richmond.
Signed Tuesday, Patriot has agreed to pay $12.5 million in cash to the state to assure the completion of land and water reclamation projects connected to 153 mining permits in the central and southern regions of the state.
Patriot’s surety bonds to obtain its original mining permits on the sites will also remain in place under the deal, which total more than $158 million.
In addition, Blackhawk Mining, a Kentucky-based mining company that has agreed to buy many of Patriot’s operating mines in southern West Virginia, will pay $7.5 million toward reclamation projects and the non-profit Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund will post $30 million from profits generated at the Federal mining complex in northern West Virginia. VCLF agreed to purchase the mine after the bankruptcy.
“Without this deal, Patriot could walk away from its reclamation obligations and leave that work to the state,” DEP Secretary Randy Huffman said in a written statement Tuesday.
The deal is part of a larger bankruptcy plan of sales and debt payments. That plan will be presented to a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in Richmond for approval Wednesday.