Peabody nears permit for new Illinois coal mine

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comment on a draft NPDES water permit for Peabody Energy’s (NYSE: BTU) planned Gateway North deep mine, which is designed to more than replace that reserve-depleted Gateway deep mine nearby.

Peabody Gateway North Mining LLC is seeking the permit for this project, which is located about a half mile west of Coulterville in Randolph County. The Illinois EPA has scheduled a public hearing to accept comments on this draft permit that will be held June 20 in the city of Sparta Council Chambers. Following the hearing the Illinois EPA will accept written comments for 30 days.

“A new underground room and pillar coal mine is proposed,” said an agency public notice. “An application for an NPDES permit for storm related discharges of wastewater from a 172.1 acre mine site has been received. Two outfalls from sedimentation ponds are proposed. Outfall 001 will consist of pond overflow from runoff from office buildings, parking lots, access roads, surface area associated with mine portal, temporary coal storage area and soil and overburden stockpiles. Discharges from Outfall 001 will also include pumpage associated with slope/shaft construction activities as well as pumpage from the underground mining operation. The catchment area for this outfall is 68.1 acres. Outfall 002 will consist of pond overflow from runoff from access roads and surface support areas containing air and escape shafts, and materials and electrical drops and will have a 23.5 acre catchment area.”

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that Peabody’s Gateway deep mine nearby produced 3.3 million tons of coal in 2011 and 3.2 million tons in 2010. Peabody has said that Gateway North is due in first development this year and will more than replace Gateway, with the new mine expected to produce about 4.5 million tons per year after completion in 2014. Gateway North will work the Herrin #6 coal seam and coal from the mine will be conveyed to the existing Gateway mine prep plant for processing.

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.