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Rosebud takes over former Amfire mines in Pennsylvania

| Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, 2:45 p.m.

Rosebud Mining Co. has begun operating 10 mines it bought from Amfire Mining Co., a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, in a sale completed Tuesday.

The $86 million deal includes 10 mines and four preparation plants and railcar loading facilities in Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Greene, Indiana and Somerset counties.

Rosebud, based in Kittanning, said it will rehire 137 of 412 workers laid off by Alpha.

Lower prices and lower demand for coal makes for a volatile market. But the purchase made sense for Rosebud because it operates several mines in the region, said Jim Barker, vice president.

“Their assets integrate well with ours and (have) the same geographic footprint,” he said. “Consolidation is generally pretty normal in down times.”

Rosebud mines about 7 million tons of coal per year and operates 18 mines in Pennsylvania and four in Ohio, according to its website.

Geography was a key driver for Virginia-based Alpha to sell the mines, company spokesman Steve Hawkins said.

“Rosebud is a very good regional operator,” he said. “Because of their location, it was easier for them to ship coal than for Amfire to ship coal. Amfire was not a core asset of Alpha, so it made good business sense to sell.”

The company struggled with financial losses this year and cut production, jobs and expenses in recent years. Alpha operates Emerald and Cumberland mines near Waynesburg but said in August that it will close Emerald, which employees 500, in the second half of 2015.

The company laid off 193 workers at two West Virginia mines this year.

Katelyn Ferral is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5627 or kferral@tribweb.com.

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