Closing Down a Coal Mine (PCX, BTU)

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Last Friday, Patriot Coal Corporation (NYSE:PCX) announced that it would close its Jupiter mine in March. The company had said in September that it planned to close the West Virginia mine, so the announcement was not unexpected.

Jupiter employs about 100 miners and produces coal used for electricitygeneration. In October 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers was enjoinedfrom issuing Patriot a permit to construct a fill to hold waste from asurface mine, which caused Jupiter to quit surface mining at the site.In 2007, Jupiter produced 1.5 million tons of thermal coal, about 10%of Patriot’s total production from its Appalachian sector.

Patriot Coal is a spin-off of Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) andbecame a separate publicly traded company in November 2007. The stockis trading about 71% below its 52-week high and is off about 5% thismorning, at $25.80/share.

Paul Ausick
January 12, 2009