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As expected, Alpha files for bankruptcy protection

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s biggest coal producers with active mining operations in Tazewell, McDowell and Buchanan counties, voluntarily filed Monday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Alpha operates about 50 coal underground and surface mines and more than 20 coal preparation facilities in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. In West Virginia, the company currently employs about 4,870 coal miners with another 1,380 working in neighboring Virginia.

“While a difficult decision, this voluntary Chapter 11 filing is the right strategy at the right time for the future of our business,” Alpha’s Chairman and CEO Kevin Crutchfield said in a company press release. “It will enable us to build on the significant steps we have taken over the past several years to restructure our debt and protect our operations. I am confident Alpha will emerge from this process as a stronger company, with a diversified resource base and better positioned for the future.”

The company said it will promptly seek the necessary immediate relief from the bankruptcy court that will allow normal business operations to continue uninterrupted while in Chapter 11, with coal being mined, customer commitments honored, and wages and benefits for Alpha’s affiliated employees paid…

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