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Contura Energy will pay about $50 million for former Teco Coal assets in Letcher, Pike


A company owned by Contura Energy, which merged with Alpha Natural Resources in 2018, will pay about $50 million for coal assets in Pike and Letcher County now owned by the bankrupt Cambrian Holdings LLC.

Pristine Clean Energy LLC, a West Virginia company with the same address as Cambrian Coal in Sutton, W.Va., was the only bidder for the Premier Elkhorn properties owned by Cabrian. A federal bankruptcy court judge approved the sales last week.

Cambrian left Letcher County owing more than $5,000 in unmined coal taxes for 2018.

Records in the Letcher County Clerk’s Office show Pike-Letcher Land LLC and Premier Elkhorn Coal, both owned by Cambrian , together owe the county $5,332 in unpaid unmined coal taxes. The unmined coal bills for 2019 have not yet been mailed by the state Department of Revenue, according to the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department. Real property tax bills became payable yesterday (Tuesday).

Cambrian filed bankruptcy in June and will sell the company off to various buyers. A federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale last week.

Cambrian has kept working and paying its workers since its bankruptcy, however several other companies have shut down.

Pristine was one three bidders for properties belonging to Cambrian. In addition to $45 million, the company will pay about $700,000 in employee claims and obligations, $800,000 in administrative costs, and up to $3.6 million in “cure costs” for unexpired leases and executory contracts.

Pristine originally bid on the Premier Elkhorn property and Perry County Coal property, but withdrew its bid for Perry County Coal. American Resources Corporation will instead buy Perry County Coal by assuming $85 million in expenses, and about $10 million in reclamation obligations.

Richmond Hill, a group of companies led by a hedge fund Richmond Hill Capital Partners, LP, which had loaned money to Cambrian, will purchase the Clintwood Elkhorn complex, and paid $32 million in cash and credit and assumed $59 million in reclamation obligations.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Judge Gregory Schaaf of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky said during a hearing Tuesday that he would approve a sale order filed by Cambrian Coal LLC.

An affidavit from a financial adviser to Cambrian says the coal producer plans to sell assets to three companies. The companies are expected to buy mines in Kentucky and Virginia. The mines employ nearly 700 workers.

The adviser says Cambrian’s ability to continue operations beyond this week is “highly uncertain.” The affidavit says Cambrian wouldn’t have been able to pay employees if it had not received a recent $2 million deposit from one of the three buyers.

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