Concerns About United States Coal Industry Intensify

Peabody coal, the largest coal mining concern in the United States, faces concerns that it could follow its smaller competitors into bankruptcy (archived). Patriot Coal, Walter Energy, and Alpha Natural resources filed for bankruptcy last year while Arch Coal filed for bankruptcy on January 11th of this year. While oil has dominated the mainstream news cycle, the energy extraction industry as a whole is leading the fiat march to suffering.

One small but very troubling development is Peabody coal's move to sell their minority stake in the Prairie State Energy Campus outside Nashville, Illinois for cash (archived). The campus is a vertically integrated power generation operation that mines high sulphur coal on site and uses it to fuel a 1.6 gigawatt base load power station. The campus incurred approximately four billion United States dollars in construction costs, though its operational costs aside from debt service are enviably low. The Wabash Valley Power Association is set to buy Peabody's 5.06% share of the campus for 57 million United States dollars subject to closing adjustments. This sale places the value of the campus closer to 1 Billion dollars. The shift in value reflects the move in energy prices from a reflection of capital expenditures and operating costs indicating of growth, to reflecting just the operating costs which suggests stagnation and a race to the bottom.

The fiat powers when faced with the 2007-2009 financial crisis balked. They thought they could find and easier, softer way. They could have been fearless and thorough. They were not. With inflation and quantitative easing they papered over the failings as they have so many times before. Now, unlike then, Bitcoin exists. With all the earnestness at their command they fight it and in moments of lucidity admit to fighting it. Expect fiat market suffering to intensify. Further expect the desperation of fiat attacks on Bitcoin to increase in spite of their ongoing reduction in efficacy. Sorry for your loss.

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