Mine restoration costs for the county of Ayrshire, the site of operations by ATH’s operating arm, Aardvark TMC and Scottish Coal, could cost between $72 million and $135 million, according to KPMG, the accounting firm serving as liquidator.
A worst case scenario, said KPMG, could witness up to $93 million coming from public sources to subsidize mine restoration in the single area in question alone—while the two companies have operations in other parts of Scotland.
ATH Resources fell into bankruptcy in Q4 2012 when principal creditors demanded outstanding debt repayment. The company possessed open cast mines in the counties of Ayrshire, Fife, Dumfries and Galloway. Scottish Coal, meanwhile, had assets in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Fife, employing around 600 people upon seeking protection in early Q2 2013.
Slow coal markets have been cited as the root of both companies’ financial misfortunes. Scottish Coal’s six mines produced around 4 million metric tons (mt) annually as of 2011. ATH’s output, meanwhile, has been some 2 million mt per year. Both mainly catered to power stations.
In Q2 2013, Hargreaves Surface Mining Ltd. paid $15 million for ATH’s Netherton, Duncanziemere and Glenmuckloch operations, having already financed $19 million of ATH’s debt for $7.6 million. The move has secured 230 jobs and made Hargreaves KPMG’s preferred bidder for some of Scottish Coal’s assets. The sale is predicted to be finalized by early to mid-Q3.