Peabody Coal

The country's two largest coal mines are each laying off roughly 15 percent of their employees. Peabody Energy and Arch Coal both announced the layoffs Thursday morning. The cuts will affect roughly 235 workers at Peabody’s North Antelope Rochelle mine and 230 at Arch's Black Thunder mine.

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Peabody Energy

Updated 12:49 p.m., Feb. 11 with Peabody Energy's earnings report - St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is  still speaking with creditors and is open to more asset sales as it deals with huge debt and a deep industry downturn. It is reporting a full-year loss of slightly more than $2 billion, compared to a loss of less than half that for 2014.

Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow says Peabody has made several moves to improve its financial picture, include selling operations in New Mexico and Colorado, but more needs to be done.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The coal industry continues to adjust to economic realities. Peabody Energy has announced a deal to sell assets in Colorado and New Mexico, while Arch Coal is suggesting that a bankruptcy filing may be in order.  Tracking the sector can be a challenge, so we have put together a snapshot of some major players and their ties to the St. Louis region.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Nicholas Curry's sleeping arrangement has changed a bit over the last couple of days.

Curry, a junior at Washington University, has been camping out in a tent near Brookings Hall. It's part of a "sit-in" to get Washington University to cut ties with Peabody Energy, a large coal company that's headquartered in St. Louis. 

"I slept out here with my dog Max," Curry said. "So, we spent the night here last night, and we'll be here tonight."

Robert H. Quenon
Provided | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

Robert H. Quenon wanted to become a coal mining manager like his father and his father’s three brothers.

“I was counseled by them that if management was my objective, I should get as much practical experience as possible by working underground and learning the fundamentals of how coal is mined and how coal miners think and behave,” Mr. Quenon told a college audience as he neared retirement.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

More than a thousand United Mine Workers of America members were back in St. Louis on Monday, the latest in a series of protests against Peabody Energy and its handling of their  retirement and health care benefits.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Our Maria Altman had a story on NPR's Morning Edition this morning about the many effects of Patriot Coal's bankruptcy. In fact, the story continues, with another rally in St. Louis today.

To give you even more on this story, we present these photos - glimpses of the people affected by the actions of this large, St. Louis-based company. 

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

On Monday, the top official with a national miners' union says bankrupt Patriot Coal's bid to cut retiree health care benefits, while seeking millions of dollars for executive bonuses, is immoral.

Patriot Coal spun off from St. Louis-based Peabody in 2007, taking with it an enormous amount of the larger company’s health care obligations. Now that Patriot has declared bankruptcy, the company is looking to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

At a press conference in St. Louis, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts said Patriot was designed to fail.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal Corp. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America, allowing the coal company to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

Patriot was created by St. Louis-Based Peabody Energy Corp., as a stand-alone company in 2007.  In creating Patriot, Peabody also transferred a hefty chunk of Peabody’s outstanding pension obligations onto Patriot’s books.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Local activist groups say they’re planning several protests this week against Peabody Energy.

This morning activists hung a banner on a Peabody Energy and United Way billboard that read, “Dirty Coal = Dirty Money.”   

Later in the day, activists joined student groups to protest at Washington University, saying the school had too cozy of a relationship with Peabody.  In a statement, Washington University says it respects students’ right to express their opinions.   

St. Louis Public Radio

Peabody Coal, ArcelorMittal to buy Australian coal giant

According to the St. Louis Business Journal, Australian coal giant Macarthur Coal has agreed to be bought by Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal for $5.2 billion. St. Louis-based Peabody has pursued Macarthur for more than a year.

The Australian company is the biggest miner of pulverized coal, which is used in making steel and in great demand in Asia.