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A coal shovel loads a haul truck at Cordero Rojo mine south of Gillette. The mine is one of two Wyoming mines Cloud Peak Energy Corp. operates in the Powder River Basin.

This weekend will be a crucial few days for Cloud Peak Energy Corp. that could potentially see the Gillette-based coal producer default on an important interest payment or file for bankruptcy.

The financially strapped company has until Monday to make a $1.8 million payment on a portion of its long-term debt. And unless a knight in shining armor investor rides in at the last moment to save the company, it seems bankruptcy is the next logical move, said Robert Godby, director and associate professor for the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming.

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