Silver Slate pursues coal mine permitting in Kentucky

A relatively new coal producer, Silver Slate LLC, is seeking a wastewater permit from the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection on a coal mine project located on Ashcamp Branch of Elkhorn Creek in Pike County.

The project will have a surface disturbance of 72.3 acres and is covered under Kentucky Department for Natural Resources (KNR) mine permit No. 898-0872, said a November 2011 socioeconomic report on the wastewater permitting that was put out for notice by the DEP on March 14. The nearest community is Ashcamp, which is about 1.4 miles to the southeast.

This mining project would continue to provide employment for an estimated 10 employees. “KDNR Permit No. 898-0872 will recover 2.2 million tons of coal,” said the socioeconomic report, signed by company Manager Raymond Merlo. “This will generate an estimated $179 million of taxable profit, of which the surrounding counties will receive an estimated $27 million (15 percent).”

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration database shows Silver Slate as controlled by Merlo. Only one mine is registered with that agency currently under the Silver Slate name. That is the “temporarily idled” Buck Creek strip mine in Owsley County, Ky., which produced 23,018 tons of coal in 2011 in a partial year of production. The MSHA mine registration for the Buck Creek job was transferred in August 2011 from Erline Resources LLC to Silver Slate.

Silver Slate was first listed in the U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s ownership and control database in April 2011, with OSM data showing Nancy and Pamela Merlo as 50-50 owners of the company, with Raymond Merlo as the company President. OSM data shows KDNR permit No. 898-0872 as a pending application with the state and that no MSHA ID number has been assigned to the permit as yet. OSM data shows several issued KDNR permits in the Silver Slate name.

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.