Consol mine sale gains antitrust clearance

WHEELING – Consol Energy is one step closer to completing its $3.5 billion sale of five West Virginia coal mines to Murray Energy after receiving antitrust clearance.

Consol officials in October announced they would sell the the McElroy and Shoemaker mines in Marshall County, the Robinson Run and Loveridge mines in Marion County and the Blacksville No. 2 Mine that straddles the Monongalia County-Greene County, Pa., line to St. Clairsville-based Murray Energy, which already operates the Century Mine near Beallsville and the Powhatan No. 6 mine near Alledonia.

According to Consol, the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 expired this week. Although the closing of the sale is subject to the satisfaction of various other customary closing conditions, Consol anticipates closing the transaction in the next few weeks.

Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent said his company had no comment regarding the antitrust clearance.

Adding the production from the five West Virginia Consol mines would allow Murray to reach nearly 60 million tons of coal per year among his mines. This would rank Murray as the fifth largest producer of U.S. coal, according to federal statistics.

Consol produced 62.1 million tons of coal in 2011 to rank as the fifth largest miner, but roughly half of this production will now be transferred to Murray. The Murray business itself produced 26.84 million tons of coal in 2011.

Because the sixth largest company produced only 33.3 million tons in 2011, Murray’s acquisition of the five Consol mines should solidly place him as the fifth-largest coal company in America.