Highland & Dodge Hill Mines to be Closed Permanently

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Patriot Coal Corporation has announced that it will permanently close the Highland Mine near Henderson and the Dodge Hill Mining Complex near Sturgis. This news comes less than a week after the coal company idled the two western Kentucky coal mines.

On it’s website, Patriot Coal said the Heritage preparation plant and barge loading terminal on the Ohio River will continue processing and shipping coal until inventories are depleted.

“As part of Patriot’s review of strategic options, the Company is selling certain assets in the west Kentucky region, along with certain coal supply agreements, to affiliates of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P., and certain coal reserves also in the west Kentucky region to a related party of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P.,” company officials said in a news release.

Patriot Coal is in separate negotiations to sell the Highland Mine and Heritage facilities to another party. Those transactions are expected to be concluded in the first half of 2015, according to the news release.

The closure of these two mines could have a particularly significant impact on the finances of surrounding counties, including Henderson and Union County. When coal is extracted, a severance tax is placed on it. The revenues from the severance tax goes to fund services and projects for cities and counties. However, without an operating mine, one of Henderson County’s coal severance funds will be empty.

Part of Henderson’s coal severance fund helps operate several of the county’s volunteer fire departments. It also helps to fund the animal shelter and various road repair projects

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