Alpha Natural Resources' Reorganization Plan Approved

The company's announcement said "Upon emergence, Alpha is expected to operate as a privately held company, positioned well to satisfy its environmental obligations on an ongoing basis."

Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. announced July 7 that its plan of reorganization for the company and some of its wholly owned subsidiaries has been confirmed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The plan will become effective when Alpha emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which is expected to occur later this month. The company also has received approval to sell some core coal assets to Contura Energy, Inc., which is a new company formed by a group of Alpha's first lien lenders. This sale includes Alpha's two Powder River Basin mine complexes in Wyoming; the Nicholas, McClure, and Toms Creek mine complexes in West Virginia and Virginia; all of the company's Pennsylvania coal operations and certain reserves; Alpha's interest in the Dominion Terminal Associates coal export terminal in Newport News, Va.; and certain other assets, including working capital.

Alpha, one of the largest U.S. coal producers, is the company that acquired Massey Energy for $8.5 billion after the April 5, 2010, explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch-South Mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners. Alpha Natural Resources later announced it would permanently close the mine, and the company agreed in late 2011 to spend $209 million on fines, restitution to victims, and safety improvements in a settlement with federal officials stemming from the explosion. MSHA at the same time imposed a fine of $10,825,368, the largest in its history, as a result of its investigation into the explosion and issued 369 citations and orders -- including for an unprecedented 21 flagrant violations -- to Massey and to Performance Coal Company, a subsidiary that operated the mine at the time of the explosion.

Alpha Natural Resources said the plan approval is contingent on finalization of certain definitive documentation and the entry of an order in the coming days. "Confirmation of Alpha's Plan represents the final court milestone in a complex, one-year restructuring process," said its Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield. "We appreciate the commitment of our workforce, the trust of our customers, and the ultimate support of our creditors and broader stakeholders in helping to pave the way for Alpha's successful emergence as a more streamlined, financially secure company with attractive prospects for the future. I also want to thank our lender group, who have provided steadfast support for our plan and worked tirelessly with Alpha and multiple stakeholder constituencies to resolve challenges and reach positive outcomes."

The company's announcement said "Upon emergence, Alpha is expected to operate as a privately held company, positioned well to satisfy its environmental obligations on an ongoing basis."

The company had sought bankruptcy protection on Aug. 3, 2015.

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