Alpha Sells Wyoming Mines To Newly-Formed Company

Jul 27, 2016

A truck hauls coal at the Eagle Butte mine in this file photo from August 5, 2014. Alpha Natural Resources sold Eagle Butte to Contura Energy as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy.
Credit Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Media

Alpha Natural Resources emerged from bankruptcy Tuesday as a much smaller company. 

As part of the bankruptcy deal, Alpha sold its core assets, including its mines in Wyoming, to a new company, Contura. Alpha will continue to operate a handful of mines in Appalachia, while Contura will take over the company's more lucrative mining operations in the Powder River Basin and elsewhere.

Contura is majority-owned by a group of Alpha’s former senior lenders. Employees of Alpha in Wyoming are now employed by Contura, which is being headed up by Alpha’s former CEO.

Reclamation obligations were a contentious topic in the bankruptcy settlement. In the final plan, will need to put up cash or third-party guarantees to cover the company’s cleanup obligations in Wyoming. Alpha had been allowed to self-bond in the state, which didn’t require the company to back up its cleanup promises with financial assurances.

Of the three big coal companies in Wyoming that have declared bankruptcy, Alpha is so far the only one to reemerge.