The chief executive of a major Wyoming coal operator says the company’s initial bankruptcy filing should have no effect on workers’ paychecks or benefits.
Alpha Natural Resources Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield also says in a letter to employees Monday the bankruptcy proceedings will be a complex process taking over a year.
The Chapter 11 filing by Alpha comes as no surprise in a coal industry beset by low prices for natural gas, a fuel utilities increasingly are using in power plants. Even so, the filing is a shock to one of Wyoming’s biggest industries.
Wyoming’s coal mines supply around 40 percent of the nation’s coal.
Alpha’s Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr (AIR) mines in northeast Wyoming were the fifth- and sixth-most productive coal mines in the U.S. in 2013.