The Asian owners of an Alberta coal miner are selling the company for two U.S. dollars, after paying $1-billion for the asset at the height of the commodity boom.
The fire sale of Calgary-based Grande Cache Coal to a Chinese mining company comes after a sharp drop in metallurgical coal prices.
Met coal, used to make stainless steel, is worth around $120 per tonne, down from a high of $300 in 2011. The drop comes amid a glut of supply and fears of China's slowing economy.
The lower metallurgical coal price, along with the slump in another steel-making ingredient, iron ore, has triggered a wave of mine closures and job losses in Canada from British Columbia to Ontario, to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Three years ago, amid a flurry of acquisitions in the mining industry, Japan's Marubeni Corp. and China's Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Ltd. paid a 70 per cent premium for the Alberta coal company.
Today, the Asian companies are selling their stakes in Grande Cache Coal to China's Up Energy Development Group for $1 each.
Winsway, which will retain a 17 per cent interest in the company, will have the right to buy back a stake in the Alberta company under certain conditions. Marubeni will also have the right to buy back a position.
The sale is symptomatic of the slump in commodity prices. Other Canadian companies, including Kinross Gold Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp., have had to record massive write-downs associated with expensive acquisitions, made when the price of gold was making record highs.