Troubled Patriot continues to falter

ALREADY in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization proceedings, distressed producer Patriot Coal has confirmed it will temporarily slice its Appalachian metallurgical production which will impact hundreds of its workers.
Troubled Patriot continues to falter Troubled Patriot continues to falter Troubled Patriot continues to falter Troubled Patriot continues to falter Troubled Patriot continues to falter

A Patriot Coal operation

Donna Schmidt

The producer said about 250 employee and contractor positions would be affected by the move.

The temporary curtailments total about 85,000 tons per month and will be cut from three mines in southern West Virginia: Kanawha Eagle, Rocklick and Wells.

All of the reductions, which Patriot officials said stemmed from weak market demand, would occur over the next 60 days.

Officials did not indicate if any of the workers would be eligible for transfers.

“Metallurgical coal demand and pricing declined rapidly over the last two months as a result of slowdowns in economies around the world,” president and chief operating officer Bennett Hatfield said.

“These actions are designed to bring our production in line with expected sales and focus capital resources on our lowest cost operations as we proceed with our reorganization.”

Patriot filed for bankruptcy protection July 9 and has since received bankruptcy court approval for a $US802 million debtor-in-possession finance package.

The company, the first to seek court protection for its financial situation since coal markets tanked, blamed cancelled contracts, rising costs and plummeting coal prices for its woes.

Patriot holds 12 active mining complexes in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin and controls about 1.9 billion tons of coal reserves.

Its clientele is electricity generators as well as steel and coke producers.

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