Contura Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CTRA), a leading US coal supplier, has provided updates on both the company's ongoing search process for a new, permanent chief executive officer, and the status of the obligations of its subsidiary, Contura Coal West, LLC (Contura Coal West), as permit holder for the two Powder River Basin surface mines that were divested in December of 2017.
As previously announced, Contura's prior chief executive officer departed the company in early May to pursue an opportunity outside of the coal industry. Subsequently, the company's board of directors appointed Andy Eidson, Contura's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Mark Manno, Contura's Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative and Legal Officer and Secretary, as interim Co-chief Executive Officers, effective 7 May 2019, as the board works to identify Contura's next permanent CEO.
"Andy and Mark have shown exemplary leadership during this time of transition, allowing our board the time it needs to conduct the comprehensive search our shareholders and employees deserve. We have made great strides in that process and have been very pleased with the high caliber of experienced leaders under consideration," said Board Chairman Neale Trangucci. "While we will continue to prioritise thorough due diligence in securing the best candidate to lead Contura into the future, we are in the final stages of this search and expect to announce our selection in the near future."
Contura also commented today on the still evolving situation in the Powder River Basin (PRB) as a result of the recent bankruptcy filing by Blackjewel, L.L.C. (Blackjewel).
As previously announced, in December 2017, Contura's wholly-owned subsidiary, Contura Coal West, completed a transaction with Blackjewel to sell the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines located in Wyoming, along with related coal reserves, equipment, infrastructure and other real properties. Since that time, Blackjewel has served as the sole and independent operator of the mines while it, Contura Coal West, and the State of Wyoming jointly undertook the lengthy process of transferring all leases and permits to Blackjewel. As of mid-year 2018, all related leases and permits had been successfully transferred with the exception of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) permits for each of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines, respectively.
On 1 July 2019, Blackjewel announced that it and certain affiliated entities had filed voluntary petitions for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Subsequently, on 10 July 2019, the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council (EQC) stayed the transfer process of the still outstanding permits from Contura Coal West to Blackjewel to allow the EQC time to review these developments.
Also as previously disclosed, as the mining permit holder, Contura Coal West has maintained, and continues to maintain, sufficient bonding with third party sureties to cover the up to US$254 million in reclamation and other obligations as estimated and approved by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for the two mines.
"As Blackjewel's bankruptcy process unfolds, we continue to believe that the best scenario for all stakeholders would be for Blackjewel, or an alternate third-party operator, to secure appropriate financing to run these mines and maintain the employment of the operating team for the foreseeable future," said Andy Eidson, interim Co-chief Executive Officer. "As such, we will continue to work proactively with Blackjewel's new leadership, the State of Wyoming, and other involved parties to help move this process toward a positive outcome."
"Irrespective of arriving at a preferred solution that allows for the continued operation of the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines, Contura fully intends to honor our obligations as permit holder for these mines," added Mark Manno, interim Co-chief Executive Officer.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/19072019/contura-provides-update-on-ceo-search/
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