CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Murray Energy and CONSOL Energy said Thursday that they had finalized a $3.5 billion deal for Murray to buy CONSOL's five large underground coal mines in northern West Virginia.
The deal dramatically increases Murray's annual production, its coal reserves and its employees in what the Ohio-based company said in a statement is a "truly transformative event for Murray Energy and its combined employees."
Murray and its subsidiaries now employ about 7,100 workers and operate 13 active mines with a dozen longwall systems and 46 continuous mining units.
"This production and reserve base will allow Murray Energy to even better serve its electric utility customers with affordable, reliable and high-quality coal supplies," Murray Energy said.
The mines involved - CONSOL's McElroy, Shoemaker, Blacksville, Loveridge and Robinson Run - are five of the top six underground mines in West Virginia, with nearly 30 million tons of combined production in 2012, according to federal Mine Safety and Health Administration data. The deal also includes coal reserves, related river transportation and dock facilities, and other assets.
In Thursday's release, privately held Murray Energy announced the names of the reorganized companies, saying, for example, that the Consolidation Coal name has been changed to Murray American Energy Inc.
Murray said that the mines are now organized under the following companies and mine names: The Ohio County Coal Company's Ohio County Mine, formerly Shoemaker Mine; the Marshall County Coal Company's Marshall County Mine, formerly McElroy Mine; the Marion County Coal Company's Marion County Mine, formerly Loveridge Mine; the Harrison County Coal Company's Harrison County Mine, formerly Robinson Run Mine; and The Monongalia County Coal Company's Monongalia County Mine, formerly Blacksville Mine.
Prior to the CONSOL deal, most of Murray Energy's mines were non-union operations. The Powhatan No. 6 Mine, operated by Murray's Ohio Valley Coal Co., is unionized.
Hourly workers at the mines Murray is purchasing from CONSOL have long been United Mine Workers members and are currently working under a UMW contract that runs through the end of 2016, said union spokesman Phil Smith.