Another coal giant files for bankruptcy

Coal is stacked at the base of coal loaders along the Ohio River in Ceredo, West Virginia May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Robert GalbraithThomson ReutersCoal is stacked at the base of coal loaders along the Ohio River in Ceredo

Alpha Natural Resources has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

On Monday, a statement from the company said: “The Board of Directors of Alpha Natural Resources authorised the filing of the Chapter 11 cases to enhance the company’s future as it weathers a historically challenged coal market.”

“The relief provided by Chapter 11 will allow the company to reorganise and emerge as a financially viable business that is better positioned to compete in dynamic energy markets.”

Bloomberg reported last Thursday the company had been planning to file today.

The coal industry is in turmoil. Demand for natural gas is surging, and coal has become a less-preferred fuel. That has spelt trouble for several coal miners.

Patriot Coal and Walter Energy have also filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.

In Alpha Natural’s statement, CEO Kevin Crutchfield noted that more stringent government regulation has pushed electric utility companies away from coal.

“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,” he said.

The company’s stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange for being abnormally low.

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