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Alpha files definitive $325M reclamation agreement with West Virginia

Alpha NaturalResources Inc. filed definitive documentation of a previouslyannounced agreementin principle providing West Virginia $325 million in funding for mine reclamationin the state.

According to a news release from Bailey & Glasser LLP, afirm aiding the state in multiple coal company bankruptcy cases, the definitiveagreement was filed July 12 as the coal producer's reorganization frombankruptcy is expected to wrap up soon. The $325 million is expected to "pavethe way for the bonding and reclaimingof all of Alpha's legacy liability sites in West Virginia, as well as itscontinuing operations in West Virginia."

"Not only does the agreement secure the commitment ofAlpha and its secured creditors to fully bond and reclaim all of Alpha's miningsites in West Virginia, it marks the first time that a large coal company hascommitted to remain in business and continue to for the primary purpose ofreclaiming its legacy mining sites," said Bailey & Glasser partnerKevin Barrett, who is serving as a special assistant attorney general for thestate in the case.

The agreement allows Alpha's surety bonds previously postedto obtain mining permits to stay in place. The company will post an additional$100 million in surety and other forms of bonds to self-bonding at its active andinactive mining sites in West Virginia. According to the release, Alpha is thelast self-bonded coal company in West Virginia.

Alpha and its secured creditors committed an additional $229million in secured funding for posting bonds and reclaiming land and treatingwater. Alpha committed at least $124 million of that funding for reclamationand water treatment over 10 years. The company also has committed to providinghalf of excess operating cash flow over and above that amount for reclamation andwater treatment at legacy sites.

The remainder of the funding, an additional $55 million inreclamation and water treatment funding over the next five years and a guarantyon Alpha's excess operating cash flow commitment up to an additional $50million will be provided by Contura Energy, an formed by Alpha's securedcreditors.