Alpha Natural Resources Files Chapter 11 Petitions

The Aug. 3 filings in a federal bankruptcy court in Richmond, Va., cover the company and dozens of its wholly owned subsidiaries. Alpha is the coal producer that bought Massey Energy after the April 2010 explosion at its Upper Big Branch-South Mine.

One of the largest U.S. coal producers, Alpha Natural Resources, filed voluntary petitions Aug. 3 for itself and dozens of wholly owned subsidiaries to reorganize under the Bankruptcy Code's Chapter 11. The company's documents and releases say it hopes to continue normal business operations uninterrupted while in Chapter 11 and to emerge "as an agile company, with a diversified resource base and better petitioned for the future."

Alpha Natural Resources affiliates operate more than 50 underground and surface mines and more than 20 coal preparation facilities in Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. It 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.

In an Aug. 3 statement, Alpha Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said, "While a difficult decision, this voluntary Chapter 11 filing is the right strategy at the right time for the future of our business. It will enable us to build on the significant steps we have taken over the past several years to restructure our debt and protect our operations. I am confident Alpha will emerge from this process as a stronger company, with a diversified resource base and better positioned for the future." He said the U.S. coal industry is in an unprecedented period of distress, with increased competition from natural gas, oversupply in the global coal market, historically low prices due to weaker international and domestic economies, and increasing government regulation that has pushed electric utilities to shift away from coal-fired power plants. "The change and challenges the U.S. coal industry has experienced over the last several years are greater than any in the past three decades," Crutchfield said. "There is no doubt more uncertainty ahead but also transformational opportunity in the coal sector for those who make proactive, strategic decisions."

The company announced that it has secured an 18-month Debtor-in-Possession financing package totaling up to approximately $692 million, arranged by Citigroup and led by a group of both its first and second lien lenders. This financing package gives the company "significant operational flexibility to successfully reorganize," according to the announcement.

Chapter 11 petitions and other information about the cases are available at www.alpharestructuring.com.

Download Center

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Incident Investigations Guide

    If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.

  • Lone Worker Guide

    Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, download this informative guide.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Download the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • The Basics of Incident Investigations Webinar

    Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more. 

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2022

    November December 2022

    Featuring:

    • IH: GAS DETECTION
      The Evolution of Gas Detection
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Enhance Your Fall Protection Program with Technology
    • 90TH ANNIVERSARY
      The Future: How Safety WIll Continue to Evolve
    View This Issue