Alkol, West Virginia (Reuters)-
On the day Victor Clark retired 26 years after working at the hobbett coal mine, the bosses called him to the office to surprise him.
His wife, his daughter, his son, Rocky, and Tony, are miners for the sake of ice.
Cream, pop and a farewell toast from a man who was mine in the West Virginia strip from the start.
Clark, 87, recalled the day of January 1990, "you feel appreciated . ".
When son Tony left the same mine in 2012, there was no fuss.
"They have posted my work before I go out," Tony said . ".
In a generation, the Hobet mine changed from a small founder
A company cheered in three different incarnations on Wall Street and went bankrupt twice-a distorted path reflecting the fate of the United StatesS.
Production in the coal industry is at its lowest level in decades.
Hobet operates 25 miles south of Charleston, West Virginia belly, once-
The rich industry is declining.
Coal supporters blame competition for gas, weakness in Chinese demand and pollution control by the government, which they call a "coal war ".
"All these forces are holding back the industry of one of the biggest investors --
State-owned enterprises are in bankruptcy.
However, there are more reasons for the decline of the coal industry and industrial giants.
Like a family before.
Operating the Hobet mine, the coal industry has shifted from a blue-collar fortress known for its dirty, dangerous jobs to a fortress known for its dazzling buying and selling patterns.
Some coal industry insiders believe that it is dangerous, not commitment, for the coal industry to seek rapid profits through corporate strategies.
As companies seek new investments, they have abandoned Union mines and put the welfare of workers at risk.
These companies have accumulated a lot of debt when they buy their competitors.
Bob Murray is an outspoken coal tycoon who founded Murray Energy.
Long-term profit driven publicly
Trading companies are on the verge of bankruptcy.
"I watched it move on and shook my head," Murray said . ".
"Everyone is pushing responsibility to others.
As a private holding company, Murray Energy is not under the same investor pressure in terms of rapid returns.
Still, the bigger challenge for the industry is to test Ohio miners.
Murray Energy said last month it could be forced to fire thousands of miners.
These cuts have some questioned whether coal companies can survive in the industry?
The ground fell.
Since last year, the energy and Patriots of the Arch Coal, coal fields have gone bankrupt.
At some point, everyone is tied to the Hobet mine-a place with a history shaped by mining advances, disasters, striking workers and market volatility.
Investors applauded for years before these industry leaders reached the edge.
Patriot Coal's shares soared in the first few years after taking over the joint coal mine controlled by Arch and Peabody.
Wall Street helped lead companies buy competitors in the 2011 buying spree that collapsed a few years later.
Arch Coal and Peabody Energy declined to discuss past business deals on the story.
The companies have previously said that critics are
Guess the deal afterwards.
When Arch sold the Hobet mine to a private equity company in 2005, the buyer was "a strong, good
The company said it was a capitalized entity.
Today, Hobet is owned by an environmental protection organization and no longer produces coal.
The mine was a sight of ruins and ponds, once with sycamore trees, pine trees and snow pine forests.
Toxic runoff must be avoided from the tributaries that are injected into the Ohio River. A decades-
Waiting for a long clean-up.
There is also uncertainty for miners.
For Andrew Adkins, this is a leukemia drug problem that costs $1,200 a month.
He may die without his pills, but the health care plan for Adkins and about 800 other retired Hobet miners and their families expires at the end of the year.
To protect their health plans, miners who went on strike in the 1990 s said they had never expected that.
"They are canceling everything we promised," Adkins said . " Adkins, a Vietnam veteran, relies on low-cost and open health programs.
Adkins, 71, is eligible for medical insurance, but it has its own costs and limitations.
For mining families in West Virginia and elsewhere, a series of Wall Street deals have vaguely changed the industry for decades --
Old promises from the mining community.
The Hobet mine was born in 1974, when it was a man named Fil Nutter who was a member of an exploration family in West Virginia that controlled a construction company limestone mine pit and smallTimes coal mine.
Nat, a "typical coal operator" of this era, has the charm and hustle and bustle needed to thrive in the mountains, says homer Toller, an early employee.
"He likes parties, gets drunk, and works hard," said Toller . ".
When a land speculator named Granville Lee "Jimmy" Linville was given the right to a forest plot 25 miles south of Charleston, Nat brought financing and connections.
They do business together.
Open-Air coal mines are added to underground mines: Workers Blast or "shoot" the surface until they reach the coal and then push everything else to the hillside.
"Shooting and pushing" in the ordinary way ".
This method cuts poisonous streams and peaks in half.
Nat died in 2009, knowing the cruelty of coal mining.
A brother was killed in a bulldozer accident in an open-air coal mine, and the Hobet labor force was determined by resistance.
Just above several mountains in the Hobet mine stood Mount Blair, home to the bloody scene of 1921, with at least 10,000 miners standing up from the hands of strikers, magistrates and coal bosses.
"If you own a mine in this area, it will be a union," said Wayne Chambers, founding member of Hobet's local United States mine worker.
Hobet grew up in a valley called Kennel.
Soon, one class became two classes.
Street lights are installed so that workers can work around the clock and sign contracts with a power plant in Charleston, the state capital.
Coal produced in 1975 was less than 90,000 tons, an increase of almost half.
Tons by 1978.
Some miners say they can believe Jimmy Linville's prophecy: "You retire from this job, guys.
"In the coal mining area that extends from southern West Virginia to central Pennsylvania, miners must pull out countless worthless rubble from the ground before reaching the precious black rock.
Transporting waste or "destruction" is an expensive issue.
Nat's approach satisfied West Virginia officials, but then Congress set national standards with the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.
Mining companies will be more careful to destroy and restore the disappearing mountains to "approximate original contours ".
The new rules mean higher costs.
The year the bill was passed, Nat sold oil to Ashland Oil in Kentucky.
The new operator solved the damage problem with a bold piece of equipment.
It is a tug: a tall crane. and-
A bucket that can carry things that several dump trucks may transport.
It took 18 months to assemble the bucket shovel into pieces.
This device has grown to 20-
The tower of the story, half hanging up a huge bucket
A mile long cable
At first glance, miners are worried that the tug might end their work.
But the workers say huge machines could be the reason why Hobet has been choppy in the market for years.
In 1984, Hobet produced 1 for the first full year of operation of dragline.
8 million tons of coal.
According to the Coal Mine Safety and Health Authority, this is more than double the previous output.
There are more than 200 miners with rich jobs and high spirits.
Workers and bosses travel on Hobet cookout every summer, fishing and throwing horseshoe.
Miners are not afraid to strike in such weather.
From 1993 to almost Christmas, workers are out of work to protect their health plans.
"We won all the victories," recalls former miner Adkins . ".
Ultimately, however, Hobet's health and pension plan is difficult to maintain.
Pension is a fixed benefit paid to retirees based on a certain percentage of miner's salary.
Layoffs and layoffs may subvert this model.
The deductible for Hobet's health program is very low.
"To protect our health insurance, we took a smaller pension, a smaller hourly wage," Ronald yoga, a United miner leader at the Hobet mine for 30 years"
The former management agreed that the health plan was excellent.
"These would have been called the" Cadillac "health plan," Ken Woodring said . " He started as Hobet mine manager in his 1970 s and retired in 2004 as chief executive.
"They are controllable when the medical costs of 1960 and 1970 are low.
But these costs continue to rise.
"The fate of the miners is closely linked to a volatile coal market known for its long winnings.
In September 1995, Hurricane Opal swept through the Gulf of Mexico, rising coal prices due to concerns about gas shortages.
Within a few months, utilities ran out of coal stock until they reached a low point that they had never seen since Fil Nutter submitted his claim to Dog Hollow.
Stable and reliable coal proves this again.
Investors like the shift, and Ashland has helped the company become a shareholder.
A company owned in July 1997.
Hobet is now under the umbrella of Arch Coal.
In dealing with Wall Street, mining knowledge may take a secondary role in marketing, Mr. Wu said.
It is important for executives to be satisfied with investors, analysts and stock picks.
Steven Leer, 45, helped sell Valvoline Oil for Ashland before leading the coal sector.
When Arch Coal was established, Leer was appointed as ceo and paid bonuses, country club memberships and other benefits in the form of Wall Street.
Most of his pay is tied to the company's performance.
If the stock price rises, Leer can redeem the stock option in cash.
Leer did not respond to the interview request.
Trading is a way to attract investors' attention, and Leer's first big acquisition in 1998 symbolizes lending. and-
Buy growth strategy.
Archie took advantage of more than a billion dollars in debt and secured new leases and competitor businesses in the West.
Further deals will allow the company to gain a foothold in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.
There, trade unions are weak and mine reserves are huge.
Sulfur coal is needed under new pollution control.
Nevertheless, Arch Coal has promised to keep existing and former workers owed hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits at Hobet and other eastern mines.
Reports from credit rating agencies Standard and Poor say the debt is "heavy ".
Arch Coal was unable to transfer its miners liabilities and therefore tried to control them.
With larger machines and longer time, the Hobet mine can increase production without hiring more miners.
After five years of hard work, Hobet's coal production reached a record 5 million tons, according to government data. That was 1.
In management last year, Ashland produced more than 5 million tons.
Production has increased, some former miners said, but culture has become more focused on the bottom line.
Manager Hobet was called to St of Arch.
Louis headquarters back to describe the cost
Ronnie Vance, Hobet manager, said the "main way" of saving and management has maintained a steady focus on spending.
In the past, when more than 15% of the workforce sought to be absent, Ashland tolerated the deer season. No more.
Coal heat spread in the 2000 s.
As economic and gas production remained flat, demand in Asia rose and demand for coal continued to grow.
One cost in record income remains a stain on the main coal balance sheet: miners cost more than $0. 4 billion in health and pensions.
As of 2005, demand for coal has spread beyond Wall Street.
ArcLight Capital Partners, a private equity group in Boston, wants a place in the coal business, and Arch coal has found ways to get rid of some stubborn costs.
ArcLight acquired Hobet and three other West Virginia Coal mines and named the new business Magnum Coal.
The deal includes miners health and pension plans.
The welfare of thousands of miners is no longer deep-
Put the Arch Coal into your pocket
Mine miners are concerned about their private equity owners and the industry's reputation for investors to flip the company.
Is it OK for Magnan shoulder miner's health and welfare program?
The miners are waiting to see.
"The union leaders told us that there is nothing we can do," said Labor leader Pauley . ".
Leer told analysts at a conference call on January 2006 that the Magnum deal "cleared the way" for more growth ".
Arch shares rose 3. 6 percent.
A Reuters review of the securities documents found that in 2007, Leer received $10 million in spending-the biggest of his career in Arch Coal, winning him $40 million.
Peabody Energy, the largest coal company in the United States, conceived the Patriot coal Company (Patriot coal) in 2007, which provided the site for its joint coal mine and assumed about 0. 75 billion.
Eventually, Patriot Coal bought Magnan coal.
Coal prices rose 2011, triggering a new wave of trading.
This time, coal companies have borrowed a lot of industries. Shaping acquisitions.
Alpha Natural Resources bought Messi Energy for $7.
2011 1 billion.
In December, pibodi Energy bought Macarthur Coal, Australia, for $5. 1 billion.
Arch Coal bought rival International Coal Group for $3.
4 billion, Leer is expected to increase the coal franchise.
"In the end, the timing of these transactions was not properly arranged.
Coal demand in Asia is gradually decreasing, and new drilling techniques for fracking push gas prices to 10-year lows.
Alpha Natural Resources declined to comment on the 2011 transactions.
Mike Quillen, who founded Alpha in 2002, thinks it's wrong for coal executives to try to keep up with Wall Street's steady pace.
"Debt will kill you in the coal industry," Quillen said . " He resigned as chairman of Alpha in 2012.
"And it's cyclical.
But everyone is troubled by the idea that coal prices will remain high forever.
The industry has paid a price for this misjudgment.
Alpha Natural Resources filed for bankruptcy on August 2015;
On July, a federal judge approved a plan to withdraw from bankruptcy.
Pibodi Energy filed for bankruptcy on April 2016.
Arch Coal, who filed for bankruptcy in January 2016, suffered cost overruns at the Leer Mine in West Virginia, named after its executives.
"If it weren't for these deals, the companies would be solvent," said John Hanu, an independent coal industry analyst, wood Macon Maryland in Annapolis.
Quillen says it's not clear yet. cut.
"Now everything is negative for the industry.
"There is no way to know how long any company may have survived," he said . ".
The coal industry will experience this downturn, with smaller and smaller size and fewer public occasions --
They own the company, he said.
"But I don't think the main acquisition is a single catalyst.
"Today, the Hobet mine sees the remnants of the recession.
The abandoned soil piles and Valley fillers that have been seasoned with wind cream are soaking up selenium, a trace of healthy nutrients, but in a large dose.
A 2008 study released by the Federal Court found deformed fish and warned of a disaster that needed to be cleared.
Patriot Coal, the last major operator of Hobet coal mine, outlined more than $0. 4 billion in pollution liabilities after its first bankruptcy in 2012.
At the same time, miners learned that their health benefits will disappear. The company-
The funded policies depend on the cash of the coal operators who are now bankrupt, so these contributions will end.
When Patriot went bankrupt again last year, the company was sold badly.
West Virginia government.
Earl Ray totogin said he hopes that the Hobet website will be suitable for business development.
But there are no specific plans yet.
On the land that the Nets first patrolled, there was a mud reservoir, not the wildlife habitat that the executives promised in the original permit.
The tug will be idle this summer.