Westmoreland's creditors will take ownership of San Juan Mine

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Creditors of the Westmoreland Coal Company are taking over the San Juan Mine in Waterflow.

FARMINGTON — The San Juan Mine will soon have new owners, according to a press release from Westmoreland Coal Company.

The San Juan Mine is the sole provider of coal to the San Juan Generating Station. It has been owned by Westmoreland since 2016. Westmoreland purchased the mine from BHP Billiton.

Westmoreland filed for bankruptcy in October and a federal bankruptcy judge approved a restructuring plan on Saturday. This plan included shifting ownership of its coal mines.

The plan calls for the creditors to take ownership of the San Juan Mine as well as Rosebud Mine in Montana and six mines in Canada.

The press release states the mines will continue to operate under the new owners.

The Great Falls Tribune reported Westmoreland will keep its name, but will operate under new leadership as the creditors take ownership.

Westmoreland plans to exit bankruptcy before April 1.

The company praised the restructuring agreement as a plan that will save more than a thousand jobs in the United States and Canada.

The announcement comes as Farmington announced plans to keep the San Juan Generating Station open, which will require negotiating a new coal purchase contract with the San Juan Mine. The current contract will expire in 2022.

Steve Pierro, the president and general manager of San Juan Mine, told the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee on Saturday that Westmoreland is emerging from bankruptcy with a revenue stream that can ensure a viable future for the San Juan Mine. His comments Saturday can be viewed online at nmlegis.gov.

"We are emerging out of bankruptcy with a strong financial outlook and improved business model," he told the committee.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.