CONSOL Energy plans expansion of already huge Bailey prep plant

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said in a Dec. 29 public notice that it intends to approve an air permit being sought CONSOL Pennsylvania Coal Co. to expand the Bailey prep plant, already the largest coal prep plant in the U.S., located in Greene County, Pa.

The Bailey plant processes raw coal for the both the Bailey and Enlow Fork longwall mines, which each work the Pittsbugh coal seam with two longwalls. These two mines have for many years been the largest underground coal mines in the U.S. Parent CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX) has lately been pursuing the BMX project, which would add a third longwall and about 5 million tons per year of production at the Bailey mine.

“The Bailey Prep Plant expansion proposes additional sources of [particulate matter] and PM-10 emissions at the plant including three (3) coal storage silos equipped with mechanical vents, twelve (12) coal conveyors and associated transfer points, and two (2) additional enclosed breaker screens,” said the DEP public notice. “Conditions of the plan approval will incorporate federally enforceable limits on hours of operation and throughput, and limitations on emissions of total PM from the coal storage silo vents as found in [state and federal regulations].”

The potential to emit for sources associated with the proposed expansion of the Bailey plant, based on raw coal throughput of 5,000 tons per hour and 5,500 hours of operation per year, is estimated by the DEP at 38.24 tons of PM per year, 28.23 tons of which is assumed to be PM-10. That 5,000 tons per hour figure, times 5,500 hours per year of operation, works out to 27.5 million tons per year of raw coal throughput. Bailey produced 10.6 million clean tons in 2010, while Enlow Fork produced 9.9 million clean tons, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.

“The critical path issues of permitting and development work continue and capital will be deployed to achieve our goal of adding 5 million tons of production per year beginning in early 2014,” said CONSOL’s Jan. 27, 2011, earnings statement about the BMX project. It is the most recent detailed statement about mine plans from the company. “Potential customers include Asian, European and Brazilian steel mills, European generators, and domestic generators now burning Central Appalachia coal. The new BMX mine will utilize infrastructure and preparation facilities at the existing Bailey/Enlow complex. We remain committed to a full-scale development plan.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.