Alpha Natural Resources

Underground Mine, Miners, Mining
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Alpha Natural Resources has announced the transfer of mostly idle mining properties in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to Lexington Coal Co., related ongoing royalty payments and reclamation equipment.

Alpha, based in Kingsport, Tennessee, says that eliminates self-bonding in West Virginia nine years early.

The Branham Family
Benny Becker / Ohio Valley ReSource

At the age of 38, a coal miner named Mackie Branham Jr. was diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis, a debilitating and terminal form of an illness that was supposed to be a disease of the past — black lung. But Branham is among many the miners afflicted by a resurgence in the disease, and officials are just beginning to realize the scope of the problem. A review of health clinic records shows roughly a thousand such cases, many times more than federal officials had thought existed.

Alpha Natural Resources

West Virginia regulators have settled a lawsuit brought against Alpha Natural Resources over concerns about the coal producer's reclamation obligations as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Coal Stock Pile
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Just months after emerging from bankruptcy, Alpha Natural Resources has revealed $100 million in what it calls "unaccounted for obligations," causing West Virginia regulators to worry that the burden puts the company at further risk of financial failure.

 

The Alpha disclosure, made in a recent bankruptcy court filing, has increased fears about there being adequate money available to complete proper reclamation on hundreds of Alpha mining permits across West Virginia, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

AllVoices.com

Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources has sold some of its eastern Kentucky coal property to a Texas company.

The company says it has divested most of the assets of its Enterprise mining operations to Kingdom Coal, a subsidiary of Keystone-Kingdom Resources based in Fort Worth.

Malcolm Wilson / Humans of Central Appalachia

As coal jobs continue to disappear in Appalachia, some families are holding tight to the idea that coal will come back. Surprisingly, it’s not the pay that they miss about the work but the bond that comes with working in the mines. They often call it a 'brotherhood.'

Upper Big Branch Mine
Jon C. Hancock / AP Photo

A man has been reported missing after authorities say he went to steal copper from a shuttered West Virginia mine that had been the site of a 2010 explosion that killed 29 coal miners.

Alpha Natural Resources

West Virginia's environmental authority has filed an objection to the proposed $500 million sale of Alpha Natural Resources' assets to a hedge fund, arguing that the deal could leave the state holding hundreds of millions in reclamation liabilities.

The Register-Herald reports that the Department of Environmental Protection filed the objection this week over concerns that a bankruptcy judge's approval of the proposed sale would tilt the process in favor of the hedge fund and institutional investors by having the coal company's major assets be sold off to Alpha's senior lenders.

AllVoices.com

Alpha Natural Resources says it has received a $500 million offer from existing lenders for the potential sale of the bankrupt coal producer's core assets.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha announced the offer in a filing Monday in federal bankruptcy court in Richmond, Virginia.

Alpha Natural Resources

A bankruptcy judge has approved a deal resolving a reclamation bond dispute between coal operator Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia regulators.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin R. Huennekens' order says the agreement is fair and equitable.

Coal Layoffs, unemployed
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Alpha Natural Resources continues to scale back its coal-mining operations.

Workers were told Friday at mines in West Virginia and Virginia that they were being laid off. The total in both states is more than 160, with the majority occurring in West Virginia, according to media reports.

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Coal operator Alpha Natural Resources plans to sell 23 mine properties in five states as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha says in a notice filed this week in bankruptcy court that Jan. 20 is the deadline to submit qualified bids or to file any objections to the sale. The filing expands a sale list of 16 properties submitted in October.

Alpha Natural Resources

Coal operator Alpha Natural Resources is seeking to eliminate health and other non-pension benefits for more than 4,500 non-union retirees.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha says in a recent bankruptcy court filing that the benefits cost it about $2.7 million in 2014 and represent a liability of about $125 million.

AllVoices.com

Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources says its shares will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

The Bristol, Virginia-based company says its shares were suspended by the NYSE because of their low price and the company is starting delisting proceedings. The stock last traded at 24 cents.

Alpha Natural Resources

Alpha Natural Resources expects to idle a West Virginia coal mine that employs more than 400 workers. 

In a press release, Alpha said it notified 439 workers Friday that it expects to idle Rockspring Development's Camp Creek underground mine and processing plant in Wayne County.

 Last week, Alpha cut 71 jobs at four mines in Kentucky and Virginia.

Woodburn Hall
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The West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled documents by a former university researcher studying the effects of coal mining on public health don't have to be made public after a coal company sued to have them disclosed.

The Charleston Gazette reports Alpha Natural Resources sued to try forcing West Virginia University to release thousands of documents by former professor Michael Hendryx related to academic journal articles he published.

Alpha Idles Coal Operations in Logan, Mingo Counties

Jan 30, 2015
AllVoices.com

BRISTOL, Va. (AP) - Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources Inc. says it has notified workers at coal mines in two West Virginia counties that the company plans to idle their operations.
 
     The decision will mean the loss of nearly 100 jobs.
 
     In an announcement today, Alpha said the affected mines are in Logan and Mingo counties. The company cited weak market conditions and federal anti-pollution regulations.
 

Alpha Natural Resources

  About 750 Alpha Natural Resources workers at West Virginia coal mines will keep their jobs, despite layoff warnings this summer.

In a news release Monday, Alpha said operations will continue at eight mines in Logan, Mingo, Boone and Raleigh counties.

In July, Alpha warned 1,100 West Virginia workers at 11 mines of anticipated layoffs. The mines produced about 75 percent thermal coal for power generation, and 25 percent metallurgical coal for steel production.

Alpha Natural Resources

Alpha Natural Resources has idled an underground coal mine in southern West Virginia.

Alpha spokesman Steve Hawkins said the shutdown of the Brooks Run South Mining Cucumber operation is considered to be permanent.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Delbarton man at the center of an alleged kickback scheme at an Arch Coal mine in southern West Virginia is expected to plead guilty Thursday.

David Runyon faces up to 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if convicted of extortion and tax evasion.

Federal prosecutors say companies had to pay kickbacks to Arch employees for business at the Mountain Laurel mining complex. Kickbacks totaled nearly $2 million from 2007 to 2012 at the Logan County complex.

Runyon was the general manager at Mountain Laurel.

Robb Kendrick / National Geographic

From Boone County banker Lee Milam's experience, each round of coal mine layoffs that hits southern West Virginia stifles his community's already-fragile economy.Thursday's news was especially bitter. Coal giant Alpha Natural Resources revealed plans to shed 1,100 workers at 11 West Virginia surface mines and related operations by mid-October. In Boone, where about 2,400 people work in coal mining, two mines employing 462 people could be shuttered.

Appalachian voices sound off at hearings about proposed EPA regulations:  “Our jobs our securities, for our families, I’m a recent retiree my benefits may be in jeopardy.”

But some residents are supporting new regulations: “We need to make it clear that the EPA does have the authority and the mandate and moral obligation to reign in CO 2 emissions.”

A Kentucky political tradition goes without a strong voice: “Darling if you want to use your outside voice you can go over there and play on the playground, OK. We’re trying to get some serious conversation going on so you can go over there play on the playground.”

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

One of the nation's largest coal producers said Thursday it expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 southern West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October, citing dismal markets and federal regulation.

The announcement by Alpha Natural Resources dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output.

Mountain Justice / flickr

  Police have arrested eight mountaintop removal mining protesters for trespassing at Alpha Natural Resources headquarters in Bristol, Virginia.

Protesters from Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountains and People's Survival say they blocked the entrance to Alpha for two hours Friday. They protested the opening of two new mines on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia.

Alpha spokesman Steve Hawkins says the protest didn't prevent anyone from getting to work.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Four years after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch killed 29 miners and injured two others, an investigation by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin continues to examine the practices of executives at then-owner Massey Energy. The mine’s current operator, Alpha Natural Resources, has established Running Right, a leadership academy focused on empowering miners to address safety concerns.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by relatives of three men killed in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster who claimed Alpha Natural Resources failed to pay them each $1.5 million as promised under a settlement with the federal government.