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It's Been a Very Bad Year So Far for the US Coal Industry

Arch Coal, the nation's second largest producer, was told by the New York Stock Exchange it might be delisted because its stock price is so low.
Photo by Matthew Brown/AP

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Officials from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) notified industry giant Arch Coal that it could be delisted from the bourse unless its stock price rebounds from a long-term decline.

The company learned last Thursday that its stock didn't meet the minimum listing requirement of an average closing price of at least $1 per share for 30 consecutive trading days, according to a statement released by Arch Coal. The company, which is the nation's second largest coal producer, is required to submit to the NYSE a plan to return to compliance.


On May 15th, Arch shares closed at an average of 99 cents for the previous month.

"The Company has six months to regain compliance with the NYSE continued listing requirements and will actively monitor its stock price and evaluate all available options in order to regain compliance within the prescribed timeframe," said the Arch statement.

Related: The US coal industry is shuttering mines and its market value is plummeting, says a new study

The announcement is not the only sign that Arch is hurting.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company is in talks with restructuring advisers in an attempt to manage $5.1 billion in long-term debt. The company has suffered three straight years of losses.

Shares in the company closed at 66 cents following the news — a 52-week low, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Stocks are currently trading at 55 cents a share, meaning its rebound and return to NYSE compliance is far from certain.

Arch Coal has 11 mining complexes in seven states with more than five billion tons of coal reserves, according to its web site.

The company is not currently considering bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal, but if it did, it wouldn't be alone.

Two Appalachian mining companies filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, while Murray Energy Corporation, the largest underground coal miner in the country, said on Friday it is set to lay off around 1,800 workers, more than a fifth of its workforce. Another 439 miners from Alpha Natural Resources are also facing layoffs, the Associated Press reported.

Murray Energy founder and CEO Robert Murray warned of the layoffs and other industry shake-ups last week during a coal conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Every major coal company in this country is either going to be broken up or sold or in bankruptcy except two," he said. "And I hope I am one of them."

US coal production is expected to fall 7 percent in 2015, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

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