February 8, 2021 Read More →

Decker coal mine in Montana closes in wake of Lighthouse Resources’ bankruptcy

Casper Star Tribune:

A Powder River Basin coal mine has closed down for the first time in modern history. At the end of January, mining ceased at the Decker coal mine in Montana after the owner of the mine filed for bankruptcy late last year.

Home to some of the world’s largest mines, the Powder River Basin is the epicenter for coal production in the country. But a dramatic decline in thermal coal demand has left many companies in trouble.

Coal firm Lighthouse Resources owns the Decker mine in Montana’s Big Horn County, just north of Wyoming’s border. A majority of the mine’s workers live in Wyoming. The parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, citing dismal market conditions for coal. Continuing to operate the surface coal mine was no longer economically feasible, it stated in court filings.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality confirmed coal mining was no longer taking place at the Decker facility, though some remaining coal would be shipped out in the near future.

“Once the bankruptcy is finalized and funds are released, reclamation activities will begin,” Moria Davin, a public relations specialist with the Montana agency, said in an email to the Star-Tribune. “The mine has reclamation plans and adequate bonding.”

Montana holds $126.4 million in bonds for the Decker mine.

[Camille Erickson]

More: Powder River Basin coal mine ceases operations, asks court to reject pension and health care obligations

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