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Coal Deal Could Boost Exports

Michael Smith/Getty Images

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Coal companies have settled a dispute over a Montana mine in a deal both sides say will boost Asian export prospects through a West Coast port.

But the mine’s co-owner said Thursday those long-term plans won’t stop up to 75 layoffs early next year. That move was announced last month amid faltering domestic coal demand.

The deal calls for Australian-based Ambre Energy to gain full control of the Decker mine for $57 million. The company wants to ramp up production and ship the fuel overseas through a pair of Columbia River ports.

Seller Cloud Peak Energy will receive land to help develop a new Wyoming mine. It also gets an option to move 5 million tons annually through Ambre’s port in Washington state.

The deal could close in early 2013.

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