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Peabody, world's top private coal miner, files for bankruptcy

Peabody Energy, the world's largest privately owned coal producer, filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on Wednesday in the wake of a sharp fall in coal prices that left it unable to service a recent debt-fueled expansion into Australia.

The company listed both assets and liabilities in the range of $10 billion to $50 billion.

Falling global coal demand, stricter environmental controls and a glut of natural gas have pushed big miners, including the second largest U.S. coal producer, Arch Coal Inc, into bankruptcy protection over the past year.