Coal bankruptcy plan approved amid bonding uncertainty

FILE - In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy's Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Tennessee-based Contura Energy announced Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, that Blackjewel closed Friday on the sale of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines to a subsidiary of Alabama-based FM Coal. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A judge has approved a bankruptcy reorganization plan for one of the biggest U.S. coal companies amid uncertainty about how its mines will be bonded in the long term. The judge signed off on the Chapter 11 reorganization of Cloud Peak Energy on Thursday. Wyoming-based Cloud Peak was the third-highest-producing coal producer in the U.S. in 2018. Cloud Peak's reorganization includes the sale of its Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming and Spring Creek mine in Montana to a Navajo Nation company seeking to secure bonding that would ensure cleanup should the mines ever close. A spokesman for the Navajo Transitional Energy Company says he can't comment because the bond negotiations are active.