Decline in Coal Production in Kentucky May Be Over

While not exactly a surge, Kentucky’s slight increase in coal production during the first quarter of 2017 perhaps was a sign the prolonged output decline that saw the Bluegrass state slip to fifth nationally in 2016 — behind even Illinois and Pennsylvania, as well as Wyoming and West Virginia — finally may be over.

Kentucky produced a little more than 11.2 million tons in the first three months of this year, keeping it on course to turn out nearly 45 million tons in 2017. If so, that would beat the 42.7 million tons the state produced in 2016, which was down 61.4 million tons in 2015.

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Glencore Delivers Proposal to Buy Rio Tinto’s Coal & Allied Operations in Australia

Glencore has submitted a proposal to acquire Rio Tinto’s 100% interest in Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. (C&A) for $2.55 billion in cash plus a coal price-linked royalty. The cash is comprised $2.05 billion in cash payable on completion and $500 million in aggregate deferred cash payments, payable in annual installments of $100 million over five years following completion.

A subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp. has a tagalong right to sell its 32.4% interest in the Hunter Valley Operations joint venture. Glencore has agreed to purchase Mitsubishi’s 32.4% interest in the joint venture and 28.898% interest in the Warkworth joint venture for $920 million cash conditional on completion of Glencore’s acquisition of C&A from Rio Tinto, with $520 million being payable on completion and $100 million payable on the first four anniversaries of completion. If a transaction is concluded, Glencore intends to mitigate its overall financial commitment via a sale/monetization of assets of no less than $1.5 billion, including exploring the option of selling up to 50% of its interest in the C&A mines.

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Murray Energy Sues Time Warner and HBO

 In response to what Murray Energy Corp. (MEC) called blatantly false, totally concocted and deliberately destructive statements made against Robert E. Murray, MEC and some of its West Virginia operations, the company confirmed they have filed a lawsuit against Time Warner Inc., Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) and their operatives for statements they made during the broadcast of an episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” which aired on June 18.

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Rio Tinto Selects Yancoal as Buyer of C&A Assets

Rio Tinto has confirmed that Yancoal is the preferred buyer of its thermal coal assets in Australia. The Rio Tinto board has reconfirmed its recommendation that shareholders vote in favor of the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary Coal & Allied Industries Limited (C&A) to Yancoal Australia Ltd. The recommendation follows consideration by the board of a counter proposal from Glencore plc and a proposal from Yancoal comprising improved terms to its previous proposal. Rio Tinto assessed a number of factors in its consideration of both proposals, including price and value; the risk that regulatory approvals will not be granted, or will be significantly delayed; funding certainty; and deal execution timeline.

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Belle Ayr Mine Receives Top Mine Safety Award for Wyoming

Contura Energy Inc. announced that one of its affiliate operations, Contura Coal West's Belle Ayr mine, has received the 2016 Surface Mine Safety Award given jointly by the state of Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Wyoming Mining Association. The award was presented in Sheridan, Wyoming, at the Wyoming Mining Association’s convention and safety award luncheon. Located just outside of Gillette, the Belle Ayr mine was awarded first place in the small mine category.

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