United Coal unit seeks permit for new W.Va. deep mine

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in an April 16 public notice that is has gotten a permit application, No. U300112, from the Pocahontas Coal Co. LLC unit of United Coal covering a face up and operation of a deep mine in the Pocahontas No. 6 coal seam.

This will be room-and-pillar job with pillar extraction located in Wyoming County. The DEP database shows that this mine permit application for the Josephine No. 6 mine, located near Rhodell, was filed on Jan. 30. The public notice marks the fact the application has been declared as administratively complete, which means the blanks have been filled in properly and it will now get months of further processing. This is the only pending mine permit application for Pocahontas Coal as the DEP.

The most recent permit issued to Pocahontas Coal came out on Feb. 13 for the 238-acre Tommy Creek Highwall No. 1-Devil’s Trace strip mine, where auger, contour and highwall miner methods will be used to work the Pocahontas No. 6 and Beckley coal seams. The DEP database shows this operation, located near Rhodell in Raleigh County, as “active, moving coal.”

The highwall mines of Pocahontas Coal are listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration as one collective operation, with the registration for those operations transferred March 12 from United Coal’s North Star One LLC unit to directly being in the name of Pocahontas Coal.

Headquartered in Blountville, Tenn., United Coal, a unit of Metinvest, operates six subsidiaries in three states, including Pocahontas Coal. Said the United Coal website about this operation: “In 2005, United Coal Company purchased the assets of Beckley, W.Va.-based White Mountain Mining Co., LLC and certain affiliates to establish Pocahontas Coal Company. Pocahontas employs more than 230 people, with operations in the communities of Killarney, Josephine and Lillybrook located in southern Raleigh County, W.Va. The company’s annual coal production capacity is more than 1 million tons, with reserves totaling 72 million recoverable tons of low-volatile metallurgical coal. Pocahontas has three deep mines, a surface mine and two highwall miner operations. These mining operations are supported by the recently upgraded East Gulf preparation plant and coal-loading facilities.”

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.