Arch Coal nears permit for new deep mine in West Virginia

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in an April 23 public notice that a deep mine application from the Wolf Run Mining unit of Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) has been marked as technically complete.

The application, No. U201410, is for an Article 3 permit for the surface disturbance of about 38 acres in order to deep mine in the Middle Kittanning seam of coal. The permit area is located in Upshur County.

The DEP database shows that the application, which is for the Hampton room-and-pillar mine located near Buckhannon, was filed in October 2010. The public notice marks the fact the application has gone through primary processing and is about to move from a DEP regional office to the agency’s main office for what should be a quick final approval. This is the only pending mine permit application for Wolf Run Mining.

The Hampton mine got its initial registration with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration on Jan. 16, with the MSHA database showing it as a new mine with no recorded production yet. MSHA data shows that Wolf Run Mining’s existing Imperial deep mine in Upshur County produced 648,062 tons in 2011 and 542,832 tons in 2010.

Wolf Run Mining is one of the operations that Arch Coal got in a June 2011 buy of International Coal Group. Existing operations in Upshur County are within the Imperial mining complex, which Arch described this way in its Feb. 29 annual Form 10-K report: “The Imperial mining complex is an active underground mine located on approximately 59,500 acres in Upshur County, West Virginia. Mining operations extract coal from the Middle Kittanning seam. The coal is processed through the Sawmill Run preparation plant and shipped by CSX rail to customers. As of December 31, 2011, the Imperial mining complex had approximately 26.3 million tons of proven and probable reserves. Without the addition of additional coal reserves, the reserves could sustain current production levels until 2055.”

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.