Alpha unit nears permit for West Virginia strip job

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a March 21 public notice that an application by the Independence Coal unit of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) for a mine permit on a strip job in Boone County has been marked technically complete.

Permit S502408 would cover the surface disturbance of about 307.87 acres in order to operate a surface mine in the Clarion, Stockton, Coalburg, Winifrede and Chilton coal seams and all associated splits and rider seams of coal. The proposed operation is located 1.8 miles southeast of Twilight in the Crook District of Boone County.

The DEP database shows that this application for the Twilight III-A mine area was filed with the agency in August 2008. This will be an area, contour and highwall miner operation. The public notice marks the fact that a technical review has been completed in a DEP field office and that the application is about to move to the agency’s main office for final approval. This is the only pending mine permit application for Independence Coal at the DEP.

The newest issued surface mine permit for Independence Coal came out in March 2010 for the 1,907-acre Twilight South mine area in Boone County. A Feb. 28 DEP inspection report shows this site as “active, no coal removed,” which usually indicates initial development activity.

Independence Coal is one of the operations that Alpha picked up in a June 2011 buy of Massey Energy. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that Alpha’s Progress Coal unit operates the big Twilight Mtr strip job in Boone County, which produced 3.2 million tons in 2011 and 3 million tons in 2010.

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.