Coal Age

MAR 2019

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6 March 2019 u.s. news Merida Aff iliate Buys Kemmerer Mine A federal bankruptcy judge has ap- proved Western Coal Acquisition Partners LLC's, a Merida Natural Re- sources affiliate, $215 million bid to acquire the Kemmerer coal mine, lo- cated in Lincoln County, Wyoming. The mine is owned by Westmoreland Resource Partners LP. The offer was submitted pursuant to the bidding procedures established by an order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Merida said Kemmerer will play a leading role as it's Western "flagship" mine, as the company continues its expansion throughout the Western coal basins. "We are grateful to be a part of the process to sell the historical Kemmer- er mine and, if we are the successful bidder, look forward to working with the employees, customers, and com- munity in building a strong and sta- ble future for Kemmerer," said Merida CEO Tom Clarke. Merida is owned by Tom and Ana Clarke and is affiliated with Clarke Investments LLC, which operates investments in the mining, metals, energy, offshore construction and decommissioning, recycling, and in- surance sectors. Ana Clarke was the largest shareholder of Westmoreland Coal Co. common equity at the time of its bankruptcy filing. Merida currently has minority and controlling investments in five thermal and metallurgical coal mines in Cana- da and the United States, producing 4.2 million tons annually. The Kem- merer mine is more than 130 years old, commencing open-pit mining in 1950. At one time, Kemmerer was the larg- est open-pit thermal coal mine in the world having produced more than 200 million tons since opening. Kemmerer produced 4 million tons of coal in 2018 and currently employees 288 people. Westmoreland Sells Ohio Assets to CCU Coal and Construction The winning bid for Westmoreland Coal's Ohio mining assets was CCU Coal and Construction LLC, owned by Charles Ungurean, according to filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. These assets include the Buckingham and Oxford mines. It was determined that Ungurean's bid was the highest, the best and "only viable proposal to acquire the Bucking- ham mine that included cash consider- ation," according to court documents. According to court documents, for the Buckingham mine, the successful bid provides a purchase price of $1.8 million in cash, with an assumption of $800,000 of trade payables. For the Oxford assets, the successful bid's purchase price is a reduction of the Net Working Capital Target Amount from $3.75 million to $3.5 million. Westmoreland filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. In March, the company emerged from Chapter 11 protection. Under the terms of the plan, Westmoreland's first lien cred- itors will take ownership of the com- pany's assets, including its Colstrip, Montana; San Juan, New Mexico; and Canada operations (with the exception of Kemmerer mine operations). West- moreland's mine assets will remain in operation under new leadership and the Company will continue operating in the normal course, emerging with a strengthened balance sheet and better positioned to succeed. Following the planned retirement of Michael Hutchinson from the com- pany at the conclusion of the restruc- turing process, Martin Purvis will take on the role of CEO and David Stetson will serve as chairman for Westmore- land Mining. TVA Votes to Close Paradise 3, Bull Run Coal Plants Kentucky political leaders vow they are not giving up their fight to save the last remaining coal-burning gener- ating unit at the Tennessee Valley Au- thority's (TVA) Paradise Steam Plant in Muhlenberg County after the federal utility's board of directors voted 6-1 on February 14 to retire the 971-megawatt (MW ) facility by December 31, 2020. The board's decision — it also vot- ed to shutter the 803-MW Bull Run coal plant near Oak Ridge, Tennes- see, by December 1, 2023 — was a re- buke to President Donald Trump and Kentucky's top elected officials who had openly lobbied for the Paradise 3 unit to remain in operation. Par- adise's other two former coal units, totaling about 1,408 MW, were closed two years ago and replaced by a new 1,150-MW natural gas-fired plant. Merida says Kemmerer will be its Western 'flagship' mine. (Photo: Westmoreland)

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