BRISTOL, Va. (AP) â¿¿ Coal miner Alpha Natural Resources Inc. said Wednesday that it reached a deal with its lenders to maintain its $1.6 billion secured credit facility, giving it some breathing room as it struggles with shrinking demand and dropping prices for coal. "We are pleased with our ability to proactively amend our secured credit facilities to achieve terms that further improve our financial flexibility as we continue to navigate a challenging market environment," Frank Wood, ANR's chief financial officer, said in a statement. Like other coal producers, Bristol, Va.-based ANR is struggling. Record low prices for natural gas have caused utilities to switch to gas from coal, and demand for coal has shrunk. To save money, the company has said that it will stop or slow production at 12 mines in Kentucky and West Virginia, and cut more than 350 jobs. It plans to cut coal production by 11 percent, or 11.5 million tons, this year. ANR shares rose 37 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $8.10 in afternoon trading. Since the beginning of this year, Alpha shares have lost 62 percent of their value.
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