CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Coal giant Murray Energy is getting some breathing room after failing to pay its debts.

The company announced on Wednesday it has entered into forbearance agreements with its lenders after failing to make loan and interest payments due last month.

The deal gives Murray Energy until Oct. 14 to continue discussions with its lenders while postponing any penalties for missing its payments.

Murray Energy says it is the largest underground coal mining company in the U.S., employing nearly 7,000 people producing 76 million tons of bituminous coal annually.

The announcement comes as many major U.S. coal producers have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent years.