Peabody, largest US coal miner, seeks bankruptcy protection

Peabody coal mining seeks bankruptcy protection

MISSOURI AND ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Peabody Energy, a coal miner that operates three mines in southern Illinois and is considered the nation's largest coal miner, is seeking bankruptcy protection.

The company made the announcement on Wednesday that it will file for voluntary Chapter 11 protection with the goal to reduce debt and improve fixed charges.

Peabody says all of its mines and offices will operate normally and will continue doing so during the bankruptcy process.

According to Peabody, this move will allow the company to continue paying employee wages and providing healthcare and other benefits without interruption.

Peabody currently operates three mines in southern Illinois. Those include:

  • Gateway Mine in Randolph County near Coulterville, Ill., which employs about 200 people.
  • Wildcat Hills Mine an underground mine in Saline County, Ill. It has a workforce of about 200 employees.
  • Cottage Grove Mine a surface operation in Gallatin and Saline counties in Illinois.

The filing comes less than three months after another from Arch Coal, the country's second-largest miner, which followed bankruptcy filings from Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal.

New energy technology and tightening environmental regulations have throttled the industry and led to a wave of mine closers and jobs cuts.

Peabody Energy Corp., based in St. Louis, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

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Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.