Alpha files notice over sale process for several non-core coal mine assets

Alpha Natural Resources on Nov. 23 filed with its bankruptcy court a notice of the planned auction of properties and state-issued mining permits related to certain shut and about-to-be shut coal mines in several states.

On Aug. 3, Alpha filed for Chapter 11 protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. On Oct. 22, it filed for approval of a sale of these non-core assets. On Nov. 6, the court approved the bidding procedures.

Under the bidding procedures, interested potential purchaser must fulfill certain requirements to (a) participate in the bid process and (b) become “Qualified Bidders” and submit “Qualified Bids.” Among other things, Qualified Bidders must propose to purchase of certain assets by showing the proposed changes to a form of Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) and a form of sale order provided to bidders and filed with the court by Nov. 30.

If more than one qualified bid is received for a particular asset or group of assets, or if the Alpha companies otherwise determine that it would promote the sale process, Alpha and its attorneys will conduct an auction for the applicable assets. The initial auction currently is scheduled to take place at offices of the debtors’ counsel, Jones Day, at 222 East 41st Street, New York, New York 10017, at 10:00 a.m. (prevailing Eastern Time) on Jan. 27, 2016.

The court’s sale hearing to consider approval of the sale(s) of the assets to the successful bidder(s), free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances, will be held on Feb. 9, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (prevailing Eastern Time).

Objections, if any, to the potential sale of the assets on the terms proposed in the forms of APA and sale order filed with the court, must: be in writing; state with specificity the nature of the objection; comply with the bankruptcy rules; and be filed with the clerk of the court on or before Jan. 20, 2016.

Attached to the Nov. 23 notice is a list of the mines, in many cases including prep plants and loadouts, to be sold, plus applicable state-issued permits. The properties up for sale include:

  • Black Bear/Ben’s Creek, West Virginia, Mingo County, includes closed Mountaineer Mine;
  • Coalgood, Kentucky, Harlan County, closed Coalgood Surface Mine;
  • Cucumber, West Virginia, McDowell County, includes loadout and closed Cucumber Mine;
  • Goals/Edwight, West Virginia, Raleigh County, Edwight mine that is in the process of being closed;
  • Green Valley, West Virginia, Nicholas County, closed Grassy Creek and Hominy Creek mines;
  • Knox Creek, Virginia, Tazewell County, Tiller #1 Mine, closure in process;
  • Martin County Coal, Kentucky, Martin County, Voyager 7 Mine (closed), White Cabin 7 Mine (closed) and White Cabin 9 Mine (closed);
  • Rawl, West Virginia, Mingo County, coal reserve only;
  • Revolution Mine/Independence, West Virginia, Boone County, Revolution Mine, closed;
  • Rock Springs, West Virginia, Wayne and Lincoln counties, Rock Springs Mine, closed;
  • Superior Mine, West Virginia, Logan County, Superior Surface Mine, closed;
  • Tennessee Consolidated Coal, Tennessee, primarily Marion County, Mine 43, closed;
  • Twilight Surface Mine, West Virginia, Boone and Raleigh counties, Twilight Surface Mine, closure in process;
  • Twin Star, Buchanan County in Virginia and Mingo County in West Virginia, Twin Star Surface Mine, closed;
  • Wabash, Illinois, Wabash and Edwards counties, reserve only; and
  • White Flame Surface Mine, West Virginia, Mingo County, White Flame Surface Mine, closed.

Alpha also filed with the court on Nov. 23 a notice about the leases and contracts that would be sold with these mining assets. The Alpha debtors may seek to assume and assign to a successful bidder one or more of the executory contracts and unexpired leases listed. Listing an agreement on the attached Exhibit A does not mean that a successful bidder ultimately will identify such agreement as an executory contract or unexpired lease to be assumed and assigned.

The debtors identified on the attached Exhibit A the amounts that they believe must be paid to cure all related claims. Any party wishing to object to those estimates has to do so with the court.

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.