Bankrupt US coal producer closes four mines after prices slump

Aerial view of a coal mine in West Virginia. (Image: Joseph Sohm | Shutterstock)

Blackhawk Mining LLC, a bankrupt U.S. coal producer, closed four West Virginia mines after prices neared a three-year low.

The closures will affect about 340 employees at three mines and two preparation facilities Blackhawk owns, as well as workers at a contract mine in the region, according to a statement Tuesday from the closely held Lexington, Kentucky-based company.

Blackhawk primarily sells coal used to make steel, which has plunged almost 25% in value since May as the global economy cooled and demand for the metal declined. It’s at least the fourth U.S. coal company to idle some operations since July, including Murray Energy Corp., which closed three West Virginia sites last month.

Blackhawk filed for Chapter 11 protection in July, and may exit from bankruptcy as early as this month.

(By Will Wade)

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