This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Mont. Coal Mine's Future Uncertain As Layoffs Loom

The Decker mine employs about 162 miners, mill workers and office staff, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics. Most live in Sheridan, Wyo.

The town's mayor, Dave Kinskey, said last week's layoff announcement compounded the economic woes from a downturn in the area's natural gas industry, as low prices cause drilling to slow.

Job service agencies in Montana and Wyoming already are gearing up to help layoff victims find new work, according to officials from the states. But Kinskey said the market pressures confronting the coal industry â¿¿ including competition from cheap natural gas â¿¿ could make the task difficult.

"There had been talk about expansion of the mines if we were able to get west coast ports open" to export coal to Asia, Kinskey said. "At the same time, there's been slow down in all of the coal mining companies due to slackening demand. It's hard to know what the future holds."

Representatives of Ambre and Cloud Peak declined to answer questions about Decker's future. The only explanation offered for the layoffs was that they were part of the mine's "ongoing expense management activities."

The mine is operated by Ambre subsidiary KCP. Oversight comes from a management board that has equal representation from Ambre and Cloud Peak.

Cloud Peak's attorneys said in the company's July lawsuit against Ambre that the mine operated at a $21.1 million loss in 2011. It has production costs as much as four and five times greater than those of some competitors, the attorneys wrote.

Given those factors and the expiring contract, the management board's plan for the Decker calls for coal sales to decline over time "with no further significant coal sales beyond 2013 sales to Detroit Edison."

However, as recently as June the Decker mine's managers filed a map with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality showing areas to be mined through 2022. Executives an Ambre subsidiary reportedly said over the summer that they wanted to ramp up production at Decker and expand its workforce by up to 50 percent.

2 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 17,678.23 -40.31 -0.23%
S&P 500 2,056.15 -4.90 -0.24%
NASDAQ 4,863.3620 -13.1570 -0.27%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs