BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - An Australian company seeking to take control of a Montana coal mine and boost exports to Asia is in discussions with state officials about a potential $10 million loan from an economic development trust. Both sides said Friday the talks are in preliminary stages and the amount of any loan could change. It would be paired with money from a private bank and used to buy and refurbish mining equipment.
The possibility of state assistance for Ambre Energy comes after the company's bid to take over the Decker coal mine near the Wyoming border was delayed in early May for unspecified reasons. Ambre's related effort to build ports in Oregon and Washington and ship coal to Asia faces opposition from environmentalists and some West Coast elected officials.