CONSOL clears one hurdle in mine sale to Murray Energy

CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) announced Dec. 2 that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, has expired in connection with the sale of its Consolidation Coal Co. subsidiary to Murray Energy.

That unionized subsidiary contains all five of CONSOL’s longwall coal mines in the Pittsburgh coal seam in northern West Virginia. They are to be sold to a subsidiary of Murray Energy, founded by coal operator Robert Murray, for $3.5bn in value.

CONSOL Energy signed a definitive agreement regarding the sale to Murray Energy on Oct. 28. The closing of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of various other customary closing conditions, and CONSOL Energy said it anticipates closing the transaction in the next few weeks.

Murray Energy already operates one unionized longwall mine in the Pittsburgh seam in northern Appalachia – Powhatan No. 6 in Ohio – and also a non-union Pittsburgh-seam longwall operation – Century in Ohio. The five CONSOL mines to be sold also work the Pittsburgh seam, so this mine sale marks a major shift in dominance of the Pittsburgh seam, a hugely important source of high-sulfur coal, to Murray Energy.

CONSOL is retaining its massive, adjacent Bailey and Enlow Fork mines in southwest Pennsylvania, which also work the Pittsburgh seam. Both are non-union operations and each have two longwalls. What is essentially a third longwall for Bailey, the BMX project, is due for operation next year.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.