BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Coal companies say they've reached an agreement to consolidate ownership of a Montana mine in a deal aimed at boosting coal exports to Asia through ports on the U.S. West Coast.
Under Thursday's announcement, Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy would sell its 50-percent stake in the 120-worker Decker Mine to co-owner Ambre Energy of Australia.
Ambre would assume liability for $67 million in reclamation and lease bonds for the mine. Cloud Peak also gains the option to move almost 8 million tons of coal annually through a port proposed by Ambre in Longview, Washington.
Ambre, Cloud Peak and other companies want to increase coal shipments to Asia in the face of weak domestic demand. Proposals for new export terminals in Washington and Oregon have run into resistance from regulators and environmentalists.
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