“The terms of the settlement provide a managed route for the company to restructure and continue operating, while also taking responsibility for mine land reclamation as a result of former disturbances of private and federal lands,” a Department of the Interior representative wrote in a statement.
Alpha’s reclamation bonding and other environmental obligations had been a sticking point throughout its bankruptcy proceedings. Previously, Alpha had been allowed to self-bond which is basically a way of insuring future clean-up costs with nothing but a company’s own financial strength. Under the settlement, Alpha will have to replace those self bonds “with bonding in a form complying with the requirements.”
Alpha can now move forward with a key part of reorganization: selling its core assets to a new company called Contura, formed by a group of Alpha’s own lenders. Those core assets include mines in Wyoming, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as the company’s share in a coal export terminal. Alpha is just one of a handful of major coal companies that have declared bankruptcy over the past year.