Massey Energy Acquisition Completed

Shareholders of the coal company that crossed swords with MSHA after the Upper Big Branch explosion approved the merger, as did shareholders of acquiring company Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.

The $8.5 billion acquisition of Massey Energy Company by Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. was expected to be completed June 1 after their respective shareholders approved proposals related to the merger agreement. Alpha is acquiring all outstanding shares of Massey's common stock in the deal, which was given an $8.5 billion value by the companies when they announced it Jan. 29.

Massey owns the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where 29 miners died in an explosion April 5, 2010.

Massey officials have blamed the blast on a sudden inundation of methane. MSHA continues to investigate and has said faulty water sprays on a longwall shearer machine are the likely cause of the explosion, first igniting methane and then causing a large explosion of coal dust. An independent, state-appointed inquiry released in May 2011 put the chief blame on Massey's management and called for more state inspections. Massey's former CEO, Don Blankenship, retired at the end of 2010, before the acquisition was announced.

The merged company operates more than 110 mines and has approximately 5 billion tons of coal reserves in Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.

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