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Billionaire's Bid For Kemmerer Mine Falls Through

Westmoreland Coal Company

Participants on a not-yet-public call are reporting that Virginia billionaire Tom Clarke has dropped out as the buyer for Westmoreland's Kemmerer mine. The status conference call was held before a bankruptcy judge April 30 to address issues related to the mine's sale.

Sierra Club attorney Peter Morgan called in to listen.

"Right off the bat Westmoreland Resource Partners attorney said that there was no longer anything for the court to consider because it was all moot. Clarke had withdrawn his offer to purchase the Kemmerer mine," Morgan said. The issue came down to Clarke being unable to secure a reclamation bond.

Last month, court documents showed a snag within the transaction. Clarke was nearly handed the keys to the mine before it became clear he hadn’t replaced reclamation bonds for it. It turns out that was a limiting step in the process.

Morgan said there had been a lot of back and forth between Clarke and the company about backing his reclamation bonds, but it wanted additional collateral from him. Without an agreement, Clarke had to withdraw his bid.

The $215 million bid for the mine came back in February. Now, Westmoreland’s secured lenders are expected to make a bid and are in discussions with the bankruptcy court over the reclamation bonds.

There are not yet any public filings related to the withdrawal.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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