Once one of the nation’s largest coal producers, Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy Inc., has cleared a major hurdle that brings the company closer to emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved the company’s disclosure statement Thursday, an important step in a legal process that still leaves many unresolved issues. Those include Navajo Transitional Energy Co., which bought Cloud Peak’s three operational Powder River Basin coal mines, assuming more than $400 million worth of reclamation obligations.

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