coal

View of the southeastern part of the Black Thunder ranch - land considered in the appraisal document
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

The First Judicial District Court in Wyoming ruled in favor of a landowners group in a case considering the release of previously confidential reclamation documents to the public. It helps shed light on how Contura Coal West, LLC (Contura) is backing 20 percent of its reclamation obligations for the Belle Ayr mine in the Powder River Basin.

In 2017, Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) accepted the real property collateral bond. A certified appraiser showed that nearly 50,000 acres of property were collectively worth $26.7 million. It was appraised twice, and then reviewed by another appraiser, according to the DEQ.

Petition
Citizens Supporting Wyoming Coal

A Washington state appeals court dealt another blow to a controversial coal export terminal. It reaffirms a regulator's decision made back in 2017. Judge Lisa Sutton found the state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acted properly in denying the Millennium Bulk Terminal necessary leases to begin development.

In 2012, Millennium introduced a full plan to build the largest coal export terminal on the West Coast and was seeking to ship about 44 million metric tons of coal per year. It hoped to add two large docks to its property in Longview, Washington.

Catherine Wheeler

A U.S. Department of Energy official visited the state this week after an invitation from Gov. Mark Gordon.

Identical Business Address from three LLCs - all linked to Tom Clarke
Multiple Secretary of State Websites

Virginia businessman Tom Clarke, who recently came close to owning Westmoreland's Kemmerer mine, appears to be the back-up bidder in Cloud Peak Energy's asset sale. That comes despite his name not being immediately connected to the LLC in public court documents.

The business address of Aspen Coal & Energy, LCC (Aspen) matches up with two other Tom Clarke-led LLCs in Merida Natural Resources and Western Coal Acquisition Partners in Roanoke, Virginia. In the articles of organization for the company, the entity forming the company was Clarke Investments, LLC.

Shipments from the Navajo Mine to its only customer Four Corners Power Plant
US Energy Information Administration

After more than nine months of searching for a buyer, Cloud Peak Energy has chosen its winning bidder. U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware Judge Kevin Gross approved the sale today with NTEC taking on all of Cloud Peak's assets including its Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines. 

Contura Energy logo
Contura Energy

Contura Energy is not yet the owner of Blackjewel's two Wyoming mines. But, in an earnings call, the company did give insight into their expectations for the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines.

The logo set on letters regarding 401(k) termination
Blackjewel

The West Virginia court overseeing Blackjewel's bankruptcy has authorized the end of 401(k) plans for all the company's miners. It was one condition of Contura Energy's purchase of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines. Many Blackjewel workers responded to the news with thanks on Facebook, one commenting "Hallelujah."

Blackjewel LLC Operations
Prime Clerk

On August 6, West Virginia Judge Frank Volk approved the motion for Contura Energy to purchase Blackjewel's assets in Wyoming pending resolution of tax conflicts with the federal government. In a Blackjewel filing, it wrote a sale to Contura would keep both Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines open "for an estimated minimum of six to twelve years."

Bloomberg compiled S & P data
Bloomberg

Amid coal bankruptcies, increasingly cost-efficient oil and gas companies, and a trade war underway, the energy sector has dropped to its lowest share of the S & P 500 in a long time. S & P 500 is an index of major companies that represent the U.S. stock market.

Duncan Harris, Flickr Creative Commons

A collection of conservation groups announced that it will fight against a move to reduce federal regulations regarding mineral royalties. The current regulations greatly increase the amount energy companies pay to the federal government.

Screenshot from Interior's Response to a Contura Sale
Prime Clerk

U.S. District Judge in West Virginia Frank Volk has approved the motion for Contura Energy to purchase Blackjewel LLC's two Wyoming mines: Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr. Though, there are still hoops to jump through. The court will need to settle a lasting issue with the federal government along with remaining challenges with title and lease transfers.

Blackjewel Belle Ayr sign
Vikki Strande/Facebook

Judge Frank Volk has approved Contura Energy as the stalking horse bidder of Blackjewel's Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines, along with a mining complex in West Virginia. The company will put down a deposit of $8.1 million to fund the sale process and pay another $12.5 assuming no party outbids them. Contura's offer is now set as the low bar, or stalking horse, bid.

Contura Energy logo
Contura Energy

Three weeks after filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, coal company Blackjewel L.L.C. has a plan to keep operating some of its mines. Contura Energy is willing to put down the money to become the stalking horse bidder and potentially take over and operate several mines including Wyoming's Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr. Contura already holds the mining permits and reclamation bonds for the two mines.

Cloud Peak Energy's Antelope Mine customers
IEEFA

Tomorrow, July 25, is the last day Cloud Peak Energy will accept new bids to purchase its assets, which include Cordero Rojo and Antelope mines. The coal company filed for bankruptcy in May after cash difficulties that stem back to 2009.

Blackjewel's Eagle Butte mine shipments in 2017
U.S. Energy Information Administration

On July 5, Travis McRoberts, an attorney representing the recently bankrupt coal company Blackjewel, gave insight into a reorganization plan.

Blackjewel Belle Ayr sign
Vikki Strande/Facebook

Blackjewel employees in Wyoming could soon miss their second payday; it's approaching quickly on July 26. The recently bankrupt coal company has already passed one payday on July 12 since filing for Chapter 11 reorganization on the first of July.

Karin Kirk, Yale Climate Connections

In 2015 and 2016, three massive coal companies in Wyoming filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy: Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy.

Coal mines north and east of Gillette Campbell County Airport, including the Eagle Butte Mine
Public Domain

Blackjewel L.L.C. will be able to draw on $2.9 million in additional short-term funding to keep its bankruptcy proceedings alive. A West Virginia bankruptcy court held an emergency hearing for stakeholders to present their case for or against the proposal.

Blackjewel map of operations
Prime Clerk

Blackjewel L.L.C is about to enter its fourth week since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the less orderly, Chapter 7 liquidation, option is still on the table. Creditors for the company have now submitted a proposal for more short-term money as they continue negotiating a long-term debtor-in-possesion financing plan.

Wyoming lawmakers are exploring the possibility of storing spent nuclear fuel rods to bolster the state budget as coal revenue becomes less reliable. Such storage would be temporary, they say, before the material is sent to a permanent repository. 

James Anderson, a state senator in Wyoming, says the gist would be to store containers of spent fuel at old uranium mines, but the idea is only half-baked. At this point, he and other legislators on a committee created to explore the issue are mostly compiling a list of questions.

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2019
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Power producers still intend to move forward with coal plant retirements despite a Clean Power Plan replacement under the Trump Administration. S & P Global Market Intelligence spoke with several major utilities with pre-existing plans to retire coal capacity. Taylor Kuykendall, a co-author, found the Affordable Clean Energy rule isn't changing anyone's minds.

Rory Wallett stationed in his office since July 1. This is where he's spent most of his time coordinating with workers around the country
Cooper McKim

More than a week has passed since Blackjewel filed for bankruptcy and sent home 576 workers. They're still waiting to hear if they're laid off or heading back to work soon. Employees are stuck in limbo, but many are not struggling to keep busy.

Blackjewel Belle Ayr sign
Vikki Strande/Facebook

The laid-off employees of bankrupt Blackjewel mining are filing a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Hourly rates for Squire Patton Boggs attorneys, the debtors counsel
Prime Clerk

Blackjewel has yet to publicly announce any plans to reopen the gates at Eagle Butte or Belle Ayr mines this week. That would require a hearing to confirm long-term debtor-in-posession (DIP) financing - an elusive prospect for a company that's struggled to secure much cash in court.

Informational session held for former Blackjewel employees
Cooper McKim

Former Blackjewel workers still have health insurance. Twenty to 30 percent of dislocated employees have found new jobs. Not all mine customers have abandoned Blackjewel. That's the good news coming from Brandy Elder, Blackjewel's Human Resources manager, at an information session in Gillette on Monday.

Blackjewel LLC Operations
Prime Clerk

A shovel operator named J.D. Dietsche went to work at the Eagle Butte coal mine, owned by Blackjewel, on July 1 expecting a normal day. It wasn’t long before he learned that would not be the case.

Prime Clerk logo
Prime Clerk

It's been two days since Blackjewel LLC abruptly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and locked the gates at its two Wyoming mines. It turned out the West Virginia private company was in a more financially dire situation than many knew. The early stages did not go as planned, but the presiding judge has approved $5 million in interim funds.

Since 4 p.m. yesterday, Gillette's Wyoming Workforce Center has seen 160 people visit from Blackjewel. This morning, the center opened up early and still had people lined up at the door. The West Virginia coal company Blackjewel LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday and has since closed the doors to its mines due to a lack of cash.

Blackjewel map of operations
Prime Clerk

UPDATE 07/02/19 1:21 p.m.

Blackjewel lawyers filed several documents with the court imploring them for an emergency hearing on supplementary debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. The company has found an alternative DIP structure with funding coming from an "interested third-party." Without the funding, the Chapter 11 bankrutpcy could turn into a Chapter 7.

Doc 14-2 Exhibit B - a map of Blackjewel's Wyoming assets
Prime Clerk

Blackjewel LLC, a West Virginia-based coal company, has voluntary filed for relief under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The company operates 32 properties and holds more than 500 mining permits around the country. Blackjewel acquired its two Wyoming assets, the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines, in late 2017 through Alpha Natural Resources bankruptcy.

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