The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a May 11 public notice the Marfork Coal Co. unit of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) is seeking an Article 11/West Virginia National Pollutant Discharge Elimination water permit for a new strip mine in Raleigh County.
The water permit is needed “in order to open and operate a proposed coal surface mine (SMA S301709-Hazy Creek Highwall Mine No. 1) utilizing single cut contour and highwall mining methods on pre-existing mined areas in the No. 2 Gas and Powellton seams of coal and to discharge treated water and stormwater runoff (haulroads) therefrom into unnamed tributaries of/and Hazy Creek of Marsh Fork of the Big Coal River of the Coal River of the Kanawha River,” said the notice.
The SMA mine permit application for this 100-acre mine, filed separately at the DEP in October 2009, is still pending. The only other pending mine permit application for Marfork Coal at the DEP was filed in September 2009 for the Glen Alum Tunnel room-and-pillar mine, located near Clear Creek in Raleigh County, that would work the Glenalum Tunnel seam. Marfork Coal is one of the companies that Alpha got in a June 2011 buy of Massey Energy.
The Marfork operations are within a business group that Alpha described this way in its Feb. 29 Form 10-K annual report: “Coal River East produces coal from thirteen underground mines and one surface mine. These mines sell high Btu, low, medium, and high sulfur steam coal primarily to eastern utilities and metallurgical coal to steel companies. The coal produced by the underground mines is transported by truck and belt to Goals preparation plant, Elk Run preparation plant, or Marfork preparation plant. The coal produced by the surface mines is trucked to the Goals and Marfork preparation plants. At the preparation plant, the coal is cleaned, blended and loaded onto rail for shipment to customers. During 2011, Coal River East shipped 4.2 million tons.”