Australia's Ambre Energy sued by US partner for mine mismanagement

Australia's Ambre Energy is being sued by US partner Cloud Peak Energy (NYSE:CLD) for mismanagement of their shared Montana mine, as well as exceeding approved budgets and engaging in "self-dealing transactions"

According to Anthony Klan writing in the Australian, Cloud Peak Energy wishes to remove Ambre Energy, a Queensland-based coal mining start-up, from the management of the Decker Mining in Montana, whose ownership is evenly divided between the two partners.

Bloomberg reports that coal production at the Decker mine fell to 3 million tonnes last year from 7 million tonnes in 2007, and that the mine reported a net loss of USD$21.1 million last year, with a $11.9 million loss expected this year.

Ambre has denied the claims strenuously by calling them 'baseless' and come out in strong defense of management. The Queensland-based company accuses Cloud Peak of wanting to close the Decker mine because of ownership of a competing coal mine whose production is on the rise.

Ambre Energy is certainly no stranger to controversy, with internal company documents emerging in the US last year indicating it deceived officials over planned expansions of its Washington state port in order to obtain export permits.