Australian miner seeks loan from Montana for coal operation

Australian coal miner Ambre Energy is discussing a multi-million-dollar loan with Montana in the US to buy and refurbish mining equipment for a local mine, the Associated Press reports.

The state's board of investment would put up $10 million, and a private bank another $10 million, to refit the Decker coal mine, although the final loan amount may be larger.

Currently, Ambre Energy co-owns the thermal coal operation with Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE: CLD) and is trying to take it over for a price of around $64 million.

In the past, with 10 million tonnes of output each year, the Decker mine was one of the largest producers in the US. This year, it was forecast to extract 1.5 million tonnes, following worker lay-offs. After the deal closes with Cloud Peak, which is still in the works, Ambre has said it would increase output.

The company wants to boost exports to Asia. Last week, it received key draft permits from Oregon for its proposed Port of Morrow terminal, where it plans to build an enclosed facility to unload coal trains from Montana and Wyoming.