Exiting the North American coal business, Ambre Energy will divest assets to RCF, which includes the Decker mine (above).

Citing a decline in global coal prices, Australian-based Ambre Energy is backing away from its involvement in two planned U.S. coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington, as well as its North American coal interests in the Powder River Basin.

The company, which is planning to divest its interests to Colorado private equity firm Resource Capital Funds (RCF) in an $18 million deal, disclosed its plans in a recent regulatory filing with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

“Since deferring an initial public offering of the company’s shares on the Australian Securities Exchange planned for mid-2012, the company has struggled, in the face of a sharply deteriorating thermal coal market, to raise the capital required to fund the operations…that is, the development of its U.S. port projects, the optimization of its U.S. coal mining assets and the implementation generally of its U.S. coal export strategy,” officials said in the filing.

Ambre Energy North America’s (AENA) planned Port of Morrow (Columbia River) project in Oregon was slated to ship as much as 8.8 million tons of coal to Asia annually from Boardman and Port Westward; however, the Oregon Department of State Lands denied a key permit to the project three months ago. Sister terminal project Longview is still awaiting necessary permit approvals before it can move forward.

The divestment plan includes the Decker mine in Montana along with the Black Butte mine and Big Horn deposits in Wyoming. AENA will be transferred to RCF and remain a representative for the export projects. The company’s leadership will remain in place.

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