Coal Company Rapped By Research Group

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) â¿¿ An environmental research group says an Australian company seeking to ramp up U.S. coal shipments to Asia has financial problems that could hobble its export ambitions.

The Seattle-based Sightline Institute said Wednesday that a review of Ambre Energy's finances shows it is falling deeply into debt and faces hundreds of millions of dollars in mine-cleanup liabilities.

Ambre is seeking to expand shipping terminals in Oregon and Washington to export coal, including from recently-purchased company mines in Wyoming and Montana.

The company said in a statement that the Sightline report was biased.

Ambre says it has solid financial backing from Colorado-based Resource Capital Funds. It also has a coal supply agreement with two Korean companies and a joint venture deal with industry giant Arch Coal, Inc. for Washington's proposed Millennium port.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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