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Ohio’s Murray Energy expands with purchase of Colombia coal mines |
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Ohio’s Murray Energy expands with purchase of Colombia coal mines

David Conti
| Saturday, August 15, 2015 12:01 a.m

Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. is taking its coal mining business global with the purchase of Colombia Natural Resources from Goldman Sachs.

The acquisition, which ends Goldman’s foray into mining, continues Murray’s expansion in the face of a down market that has prompted competitors to go bankrupt. The company became the United States’ largest privately held coal miner with its $1.37 billion purchase of St. Louis-based Foresight Energy in April, a little more than a year after buying five West Virginia mines from Consol Energy.

“Acquiring assets in Colombia will broaden our international presence in an attractive market and position ourselves to better serve our customers around the world,” said Executive Vice President Robert D. Moore.

The purchase includes two surface mines, three undeveloped mines, a port facility and railroad holdings in Colombia. Goldman paid $569 million for the assets in 2010. The Wall Street Journal said Murray picked them up for about $10 million. Neither company disclosed financial details.

London-based Javelin Global Commodities Holdings, which Murray formed in June with E.ON Global Commodities of Germany, will market the coal produced in Colombia. Javelin is headed by two former Goldman executives.

Robert E. Murray, CEO of the company he founded in St. Clairsville, Ohio, is known for loudly blaming the coal industry’s woes on President Obama, environmentalists and cheaper shale gas.

“As the United States coal industry continues to be under attack for elimination by the Obama administration, we must look to international markets to ensure our survival,” he said about the Colombia purchase.

Prices and production have fallen with demand as power plants under regulatory and financial pressures switch to natural gas and international markets cool. U.S. coal production this year is down nearly 8 percent since last year.

Fellow coal companies Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal and Walter Energy have filed for bankruptcy over the past several months.

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or News contributed to this report.

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