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Arch Coal suspends plans for major new mine in Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Arch Coal is suspending its plans to develop a major coal mine in southeastern Montana two months after the industry giant filed for bankruptcy protection.

The St. Louis-based company on Thursday cited a weak coal market and an uncertain permitting outlook in announcing it was suspending its application for the proposed Otter Creek mine.

Otter Creek would have extracted up to 20 million tons of coal annually from state-owned and private leases south of Ashland near the Wyoming border. Plans to build a $400 million railroad to the site were suspended last year.

The mine proposal already was more than three years behind schedule. It faced strong opposition from nearby landowners, members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and conservation groups.

The company’s reserves at Otter Creek hold an estimated 1.4 billion tons of coal.

In related news, Wyoming, Arch Coal reach bankruptcy bonding deal.

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