Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Patriot Coal to 'permanently close' idled mines

To update a story in this week's issue of The Crittenden Press, Patriot Coal Corp. announced today that it will permanently close two Union County mines it idled earlier this week. The closure will put about 670 miners out of work, affecting dozens of Crittenden County families.

Patriot said in a news release Wednesday that it will shutter the Highland Mine near Henderson and the Dodge Hill Mining Complex near Sturgis. The closure was effective today. The announcement comes just three days after Patriot indicated it would be idling the mines effective Monday of this week.

Meantime, Patriot's Heritage preparation plant and barge loading terminal on the Ohio River will continue processing and shipping coal until inventories are depleted.

As part of Patriot's review of strategic options, the company indicates it is selling certain assets in western Kentucky, along with certain coal supply agreements, to affiliates of Alliance Resource Partners L.P. and certain coal reserves also in western Kentucky to a related party of Alliance Resource Partners L.P.

"The company is engaged in separate talks to sell the closed Highland mine and Heritage facilities to other parties and expects to conclude such transactions in the first half of 2015," today's news release stated.

The impending sale could give the out-of-work miners some hope, but it is uncertain what it may mean or exactly how long operations may be down.

For more on the story, see this week's issue of The Press and pick up one next week for any updates on the story.