The latest request, to push back the deadline from July 12 to August 30, was granted earlier this week by Judge Carolyn Ostby, who said it would be the final chance for the companies to work out a deal before the lawsuit proceeded to trial in September.
The Associated Press reported that court documents revealed the delay was due to Ambre’s failure to come up with the more than $70 million in cash to close on the deal.
The companies reportedly said in court documents that their ability to close the sale depended on “Ambre’s ongoing financing efforts to obtain cash collateral”. About $70.7 million is needed to pay Cloud Peak for outstanding reclamation and lease bonds.
Ambre has been pushing to increase its ownership to 100% of the once large-scale mine near the Wyoming border. Decker has produced more than 10 million tons per annum previously but is currently producing at 3Mtpa.
Ambre plans to ramp production back up to full capacity and export the coal through a pair of proposed west coast export terminals to growing Asian markets.
However, US energy analyst Sightline Institute said in February that Ambre’s foray into US exports looked unlikely to be successful amid a number of money woes for the company.
According to the Sightline Institute report, Ambre faces mounting financial challenges, including money-losing coal mines, large write-offs for failed overseas ventures, major liabilities for mine cleanup and pensions, troubled assets, high borrowing costs and a need for $1 billion in new capital to make its coal projects financially viable.
The proposed pair of coal export terminal sites in Washington and Oregon, were expected to begin first shipments in 2014.
Ambre spokeswoman Liz Fuller told the AP the company was still committed to working out the details and completing the deal by the new deadline.
A Cloud Peak spokesman, Rick Curtsinger, said the company had no comment beyond statements made in documents submitted to the court.