Western Kentucky Coal and Muhlenberg County Coal, both subsidiaries of bankrupt Murray Energy, filed WARN notices in Frankfort late last week, saying they planned layoffs on or about June 2 — if new buyers aren’t found by then.

The notices said 42 will be laid off in Ohio County and 140 in Muhlenberg County.

The letters were signed by Anthony Yates, vice president and general manager of both companies.

He said that since Murray Energy filed for bankruptcy last fall, its assets have been for sale.

Yates said he’s not sure when the sale will be completed.

But Bloomberg Law reported on March 23, “A group of Murray Energy Corp. lenders will swap $1.2 billion of debt for ownership of the bankrupt coal mine after no other suitors emerged before a bid deadline, court papers show.”

It said, “A hearing on the sale and Murray’s bankruptcy plan, which are subject to court approval, is slated for June 2.”

Bloomberg Law said, “Court papers previously showed the lender group buying Murray included Silver Point Capital, Bain Capital Credit and Eaton Vance Management.”

Ohio Judge-Executive David Johnston said, “I’m hoping someone else will come in and buy the mine. Communication with Murray Holding Co. has broken down. We’re not hearing anything.”

He said Ohio County still has “one more mine doing a little work here. But we’re losing a lot of occupational tax and coal severance money. We still have a good supply of coal in reserves. When the market comes back, there’s plenty of coal to mine here.”

Muhlenberg Judge-Executive Curtis McGehee said he was trying to get more information about the possible closure before commenting on it.

Murray American Energy said last week that it has reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with The United Mine Workers of America.

It said, “If ratified, the anticipated new owners of the company have agreed upon the closing of the company’s anticipated sale transaction to recognize the terms and conditions of the tentative agreement.”

Last fall, Murray Energy said it employed nearly 7,000 people at 17 mines in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Utah and West Virginia.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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