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Peabody, largest US coal miner, seeks bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK (AP) – Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal miner, is seeking bankruptcy protection.

The St. Louis based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The company says all mines and offices will continue to operate as normal. Peabody calls the decision “difficult” by says its the right move going forward.

The filing comes less than three months after another from Arch Coal, the country’s second-largest miner, which followed bankruptcy filings from Alpha Natural Resources.

New energy technology and tightening environmental regulations have throttled the industry and led to a wave of mine closures and job cuts. Peabody makes most of its money by selling its coal to utility companies that use it to generate electricity. But many utilities have shifted to using natural gas, which costs less than coal and produces less pollution.

In southern Illinois, Peabody operates the Wildcat Hills Mine in Saline County, Cottage Grove Mine in Gallatin and Saline Counties, and Gateway Mine in Randolph County.

The company has established a call center for questions. The number is 866-967-1783.