New York- President Donald Trump guaranteed he would save the coal industry. But as his term tails off, the industry is striving through some of its darkest days, troubled by falling demand, job losses and bankruptcies.
According to the October jobs report, the coal mining industry has lost 15% of its workers, or 8000 jobs, over the past 12 months.
And last month two more coal companies, White Stallion Energy and Lighthouse Resources, both filed for bankruptcy. As claimed by BankruptcyData.com, these companies were at least fifth and sixth coal miners to file for bankruptcy in the last six months.
Initially this year, companies like FM Coal, Hopewell Mining and CLI USA were also liquidated. All were privately held, relatively small companies whose insolvencies got little attention outside of towns in the Midwest, the West and Southern states, where their mines are situated. Yet they all tell a story of pain spreading across the coal industry.
White Stallion, located in Evansville Indiana, discharged virtually all of its 270 employees just before its bankruptcy. Lighthouse, situated in Utah, also fired 76 of its 168 employees.
Lighthouse CEO, Everett King, said, “Considering the challenging market conditions… we have been obligated to reorganize our business and reduce costs resulting in scaling down our workforce in Montana.”
“We are deeply disheartened by this impact on communities, families and individuals. A court-supervised readjustment is mandatory for lighthouse……and we have no other option”, he said.
It’s not just the smaller companies who are suffering.
One of the nation’s largest coal miner company, Peabody Energy (BTU), notified investors earlier this year that its finances were weak enough that there is now “considerable doubt” about its capacity to stay in business.
It has lost $1.8 billion in the first ten months of the year and is engaged in the settlement with bondholders and lenders to try to restructure its debt.