World’s top private coal company faces bankruptcy

Staunch opponent of climate laws and science misses interest payment as global coal price slump continues

(Pic: Pixabay)

(Pic: Pixabay)

By Ed King

Peabody Energy, the largest US coal miner, has warned it could struggle to stay afloat and may look for bankruptcy protection.

In a submission to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it had missed a US$71.1 million interest payment and revealed it may default on its debt.

Peabody’s value has tanked due to a global slump in commodity prices, and a US switch from coal to gas for power generation.

Last year it posted $1 billion losses in the second quarter, resulting in a huge jobs cull and the acceleration of plans to sell three major coal mines.

The company has long proved a tough opponent to lawmakers intent on driving through tougher climate regulations in the US, stoking fears of a ‘war on coal’.

Last year the company’s then chief executive Greg Boyce claimed climate models were “flawed” and said coal had a long and bright future.

“The greatest problem we confront is not an environmental crisis predicted by flawed computer models, but a human crisis that is fully within our power to solve,” he added.

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