A federal judge has denied a new trial for an Upper Big Branch mine security chief convicted of lying to investigators after the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in four decades, The Associated Press reports.
Alpha Natural Resources posted a fourth-quarter loss Friday after booking $745 million in charges due to weak demand for coal and also new environmental regulations.
Losses amounted to $733 million, or $3.34 per share, for the final three months of 2011, compared with a profit of $10.8 million, or 9 cents per share, in the same part of 2010. Revenue more than doubled to $2.07 billion.
Excluding the goodwill impairment charge and other special items, Alpha says its adjusted losses were $16 million, or 7 cents per share, in the quarter.
Bloomberg reports on the high-stakes race by billionaires in Australia, the world’s second-largest shipper of coal for utilities, to build a railway that will open a $40 billion coal region with the potential to more than double exports.
West Virginia mine safety officials issued 253 violations in their investigation of the Upper Big Branch disaster and targeted at least two foremen, saying their failures may have exacerbated the unsafe conditions underground before the explosion that killed 29 men.
The violations are included in a report released Thursday by the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training. It's the fourth and final report on the nation's worst coal mining disaster in four decades at Massey Energy's mine near Montcoal.
The report comes the day after federal prosecutors charged the mine's former superintendent with fraud and signaled they are going after other Massey employees, likely higher up the management ladder.
The need to clean up abandoned mines has West Virginia lawmakers proposing a tax hike.
State regulators say they're facing a funding shortfall for treating water on these old mine sites.
A 14-cent tax on each ton of processed coal now funds reclaiming an abandoned site's land and water. The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill Thursday to increase that tax to nearly 28 cents per ton.
The superintendent of the West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men was charged Wednesday with conspiracy to defraud the federal government, becoming the highest-ranking employee to face criminal prosecution in an investigation that appeared to be moving steadily up the corporate ladder.
Former Upper Big Branch mine boss Gary May, 43, of Bloomingrose, W.Va., is named in a federal information, a document that signals a defendant is cooperating with prosecutors. He is the second employee of Massey Energy, the company that owned the mine at the time of the 2010 tragedy, to face prosecution.
Reached at his home Wednesday morning, May declined comment. A conviction on the federal fraud charge could result in fines and up to five years in prison.
Federal regulators have filed civil fraud charges against the chairman and the former CEO of a Chinese company, accusing them of duping people to invest in a coal company that actually was an empty shell.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the charges Wednesday against Ming Zhao, chairman of Puda Coal Inc., and its former CEO, Liping Zhu. The SEC said they conspired to "loot" and sell the company's main asset, a coal mining firm.
Puda Coal's stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange from September 2009 to August 2011. The SEC said Zhao and Zhu raised money from U.S. investors in two public stock offerings.
A major Chinese industrial conglomerate is entering a $1.25 billion partnership with Masshuchusetts start-up, GreatPoint Energy, to convert coal to natural gas, in the largest ever investment from China into a U.S. venture-backed company, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum released four years of federal income tax returns on Wednesday night, showing a sharp rise in his personal wealth spurred by his growing work as Washington-based corporate consultant and media commentator.
Santorum's returns show that his federal income taxes rose from 2007, when he paid $167,000, to $310,000 in 2009, then dropped to $263,000 in 2010. During that same period, his annual income surged from nearly $660,000 in 2007 to $1.1 million in 2009 before slipping to $923,000 in 2010.
Santorum, 53, has sold himself in the Republican primaries as both a Washington outsider and a social conservative, stressing his family's coal-mining background and his appeal to religious and working-class voters. His personal finances tell a different story, detailing the trajectory of a politician who grew more prosperous in the Senate and became a millionaire afterwards, at times capitalizing on his Beltway connections.