Coal producer Met Resources LLC is nearing an Article 11/West Virginia National Pollutant Discharge Elimination water permit for the new Puncheoncamp strip mine in McDowell County, W.Va.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is taking public comment until April 29 on a draft version of the permit. The permit is needed in order to operate a surface mine, highwall mine, auger mine and haulroad and discharge treated and stormwater runoff into various tributaries of Tug Fork, said a March 30 public notice.
Met Resources, an independent coal operator controlled in part by two members of the Preservati family, is loading up on permit applications at the DEP for new strip mines that would produce metallurgical coal out of various splits of the Pocahontas coal seam.
DEP records show that on Feb. 28, the company applied for a permit on the 729-acre Gemini strip job, to be located near Matoaka in Wyoming County. The application covers a haulroad, plus contour, auger and highwall mining work in the Pocahontas No. 3, No. 6, No. 7, No. 9, No. 11, No. 12 and No. 13 coal seam splits. Based on past DEP permitting work, it will take at least a year of processing, and perhaps much more, before a permit can be issued.
Met Resources has three older mine permit applications pending at the DEP.
- Puncheoncamp surface mine – This is a 175-acre operation, with the application for it filed in November 2009, that is the subject of the nearly-completed water permitting. The mine application covers a haulroad, plus area, contour, auger, highwall miner and steep slope work in the Lower Horsepen and Pocahontas No. 6, No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11 coal seams and seam splits. The mine site is also located near Anawalt in McDowell County. This mine permit application moved on March 26 from a DEP regional office to the agency’s main office for final approval. Such approvals usually come within a month or two of this move.
- Windmillgap surface mine – This is a 332-acre job that was applied for in March 2010. The application covers a haulroad, plus area, contour, auger, highwall miner and steep slope work in the Pocahontas No. 11, No. 12 and No. 13 coal seam splits. The project site is near Maybeury in McDowell County.
- Appollo surface mine – This is a 284-acre application filed in September 2011. The application covers a haulroad, plus area, contour, auger and highwall miner work in the Pocahontas No. 3 and No. 6 coal seams. The site is located near Anawalt in McDowell County.
The DEP has, as of March 30, issued two mine permits to Met Resources.
- Weyanoke surface mine – This 172-acre job in the Pocahontas No. 6 and No. 7 seam splits got a permit in May 2011. The DEP database shows that the mine, located in Mercer County, is “active, no coal removed.” Earlier this year, the DEP approved two mine operators for the site: Onyx Energy LLC and Southeastern Coal Inc.
- McComas No. 1 surface mine – This mine was first permitted in February 2010 at 113 acres, with later revisions bringing it to a current 156 acres. The mine, located in Mercer County, is “active, moving coal,” according to the DEP database. Onyx Energy was approved as a site operator in 2010 and Southeastern Coal was approved as an operator in February of this year. The mine works the Pocahontas No. 7 and No. 9 coal seams.
Met Resources was first registered at the U.S. Office of Surface Mining in 2009, with OSM records showing these owners and ownership percentages: Richard Preservati II, 36%; Gregory Jessee, 10%; Gina Boggess, 29%; and Nicholas Preservati, 25%.