ArcelorMittal unit pursues eight coal mine permits in W.Va.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a May 11 public notice that a mine permit application from the Mid-Vol Coal Sales unit of international steelmaker ArcelorMittal has been marked as technically complete.

The application, #S400711, is for an Article 3 permit for the surface disturbance of approximately 406.13 acres in order to surface, auger and highwall mine in the Pocahontas 9, Pocahontas 11A, Pocahontas 11B, Pocahontas 12A, Pocahontas 12B seams and associated seam splits. The permit area is located near Pageton in McDowell County. DEP records show this involves a March 2011 application for the White Vulture No. 1 strip mine. The public notice marks the fact the application is now administratively complete, which means the blanks have been filled in properly and it can now get full processing.

Mid-Vol Coal Sales has five other mine permit applications pending for surface jobs and two for deep mines, all located in McDowell County. The surface-mine applications were:

  • filed May 2009, 783-acre Easter Ridge strip job;
  • filed May 2009, 513-acre Dan’s Branch job;
  • filed April 2011, 350-acre Blue Falcon job;
  • filed August 2009, 359-acre Low Gap Branch mine; and
  • filed December 2010, 181-acre Grey Eagle mine.

The deep applications were:

  • filed August 2009, No. 4 room-and-pillar deep mine in the Pocahontas No. 4 seam; and
  • filed August 2009, Jenkin Jones room-and-pillar job in the Pocahontas No. 4 seam.

The ArcelorMittal Princeton (AMP) properties are located in McDowell County and in Tazewell County, Va., approximately 30 miles west of the city of Princeton, W.Va., where AMP’s corporate office is located, said ArcelorMittal’s Feb. 22 annual Form 20-F filing at the SEC. The properties consist of two operating areas:  the Low Vol operations and the Mid Vol operations, which are situated south of U.S. Route 52.

The larger Low Vol operations are located in McDowell County, near the communities of Northfork, Keystone, Eckman, Gary, Berwind, and War. The Eckman Plant, Dans Branch Loadout, Eckman 2 and Redhawk 1 surface mines are also located here, as well as these deep mines: XMV Nos. 32, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40 and 42.

The Mid Vol operations are in southeastern McDowell County and northwestern Tazewell County. The nearest communities are Horsepen and Abbs Valley, Va., as well as Anawalt, W.Va. The mine operations office is located at Horsepen, Va., near the Mid Vol operations.

The property has a long history of coal mining, mostly by predecessors in title to AMP. Significant underground mining of some of the deeper coal seams on the properties have occurred, notably the Pocahontas 3 and 4 seams. In addition, a substantial amount of the thicker coal outcrops have been previously contour mined, providing access for highwall mining and on-bench storage of excess spoil from future, larger-scale surface mining. AMP was created in 2008 when the Mid-Vol Coal Group and the Concept Mining Group were bought and integrated.

The combined production of these mines in 2011 was 2.4 million tonnes of washed and directly shippable coal

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.