Change requested in mine bankruptcy case


MCLEAN COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) Owners of a Tri-State mine, who filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, are facing another challenge.

Creditors owed money by Hartshorne Mining, which owns the Poplar Grove mine in McLean County, asked a judge to change its bankruptcy case to Chapter 7.

Just a few years after opening, the Poplar Grove mine just south of Calhoun faces an even more uncertain future.

“Obviously, it’s going to have a negative impact when the county loses any type of business,” said McLean Co. Judge Executive Curtis Dame.

In a federal bankruptcy court filing , the creditors asked a judge to change the Chapter 11 proceedings to Chapter 7, adding the Chapter 11 cases are not in the best interests of those the company owes money. Under chapter eleven the mine could stay open. However, under Chapter 7, the mine’s assets would be liquidated, and it would likely close. The filing happens more than four months after hartshorne filed for Chapter 11 protection. Dame says workers he’s talked with have become more concerned about its future.

“Whether or not that fully happens, I think we’re on that track or path to have that completely happened because of the debt load, from what I’ve heard is substantially high for the mines,” said Dame.

Since production started nearly two years ago, the mine’s had issues trying to increase production and the company transitioned from two mines to one. Dame says the county has about $500,000 more in tax revenue compared to last year, but will be more conservative in upcoming budgets and will try to lower expenses.

“We’re going to try to take a conservative and fiscally responsible approach to get us through this time and hopefully diversify, going forward,” he said.

A judge could decide on the motion as soon as later this month. Hartshorne officials declined to comment on the case.’

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(This story was originally published on July 3, 2020) 

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