September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

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Navajo Transitional Energy Company to Purchase Wyoming Coal Mines

Navajo Transitional Energy Company, a wholly owned limited liability company of the Navajo Nation, is about to close a big deal that will substantially impact Wyoming, and potentially the country as a whole. 

According to the Casper Star Tribune article entitled, Navajo Nation Coal Company Receives Approval to Purchase Cloud Peak Mines, Navajo Transitional Energy Company was the successful bidder and has received court approval to purchase the Wyoming’s Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines, located in the Powder River Basin, out of bankruptcy.  The Spring Creek mine located in Montana was also reportedly included in the sale to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company.

Why is this important?

  1. This is a BIG deal. These coal mines are large – Wyoming’s Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines are the third and fifth largest coal mines in the country.  According to the press release dated August 19, 2019 issued by the Navajo Transitional Energy Company and entitled NTEC Expands its Conscientious Energy Development Efforts by Acquiring Three Coal Mines in the Powder River Basin, which can be found here, the properties acquired include surface and mineral rights to approximately 90,000 acres of land.

    • The coal produced from these mines located in the Powder River Basin has a low sulfur content and is therefore considered cleaner.

    • These coal mines currently employ roughly 800 Wyoming miners.

    • Navajo Transitional Energy Company is already in the coal business – according to its website, which can be found here, the company purchased the Navajo Mine in 2013, which is located on the Navajo Nation, south of Farmington, New Mexico. The Navajo Mine is operated on behalf of Navajo Transitional Energy Company by Bisti Fuels Company, LLC, a subsidiary of North American Coal Corporation. 

    • According to Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s press release, the assets were acquired free and clear of the debt burdens since they were purchased through the bankruptcy process.

    • This sale is historic – it is not only involving large coal mines but, according to Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s press release, “Indian tribes have long had a deep connection to the earth, and for the first time, a tribal company will now lead thoughtful and diligent energy development on a national level.”

    • Further,  according to Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s press release, “[w]ith this purchase, NTEC [Navajo Transitional Energy Company] becomes the third largest coal producer in the United States.

This historic sale is the high note of the week, as the economic benefits not only to Wyoming, but to the Navajo Nation and the United States as a whole, will be significant. 

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About this Author

Melissa J. Lyon litigation attorney Steptoe-Johnson
Of Counsel

Melissa Lyon is a skilled litigator and transactional attorney with a particular focus on the needs of clients in the energy and natural resources sector.

Staying true to her country-law roots, Melissa is distinguished by her work ethic, leadership, and her charisma, and she is consistently recognized by clients for her dedication to achieving successful resolutions.

In addition to assisting clients by preparing master service agreements and contracts concerning development, production, marketing, and transportation of crude oil and natural gas, she is an...

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