The Australian company that owns a coal mine in McLean County announced on Feb. 21 that it's selling the troubled project and the Kentucky company operating the mine has filed for bankruptcy.
The Poplar Grove mine in rural McLean County, about 30 miles south of Owensboro, is operated by Hartshorne Mining Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paringa Resources, based in Perth, Australia.
Paringa has filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
During the court-supervised bankruptcy process, the Poplar Grove coal mine, as well as the undeveloped Cypress coal project located nearby, and other business assets, will be offered for sale. Paringa announced on Feb. 17 that some of its employees would be terminated the next day. Local officials estimate at least 40 miners lost their jobs.
Hartshorne will continue to operate one of two units of the mine during the bankruptcy and sale process.
In October 2016, Paringa President and CEO David Gay, said the project was “undoubtedly the best undeveloped thermal coal project in the United States."
Mining operations at Poplar Grove began in December 2018, and since then Paringa has announced the unexpected discovery of a geological fault that slowed production and water seeping into the mine roof that saturated the floor with water.
Paringa halted trading of its stock on the Australian Securities Exchange on Dec.23, 2019.