James River Coal files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection, citing ongoing woes of coal industry

RICHMOND, Va. – James River Coal Co. says it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its efforts to turn around its business.

The Richmond, Va.-based company says it faces challenges from the weak economy, environmental regulations and competition from natural gas. Utilities are increasingly switching to gas from coal.

James River said Monday that the bankruptcy process will help it shore up its balance sheet. It has secured $110 million in financing to keep its operations rolling, pending court approval, during the restructuring process.

The miner is still considering options such as selling off parts of the business.

James River mines coal used to produce steel and for power generation in Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana.