Birmingham Coal & Coke starts permitting new mine

Birmingham Coal & Coke applied May 29 at the Alabama Surface Mining Commission for a permit on the 178-acre Knight strip mine, to be located in Franklin and Winston counties.

The coal seam to be mined at this site will be the Bear Creek, which has a 1% (raw dry) sulfur content at this location. The seam averages 2.05 feet in thickness in the permit area, with average overburden of 61 feet, said a geology report in the application.

The surface mining method of area and contour mining will be used at this mine site. Mining will be in three increments. “Mining will commence in Increment No. 1 (with the dozer/loader/trackhoe unit) along the old abandoned highwall located at the southern most point of Increment No. 1 in the NW/NW of Section 5, Township 9 South, Range 10 West in Winston County, Alabama,” said an operations plan in the application. “Mining will advance to the northwest along the existing roadway with cuts generally aligned from southwest to northeast. Material will be spoiled to the southeast off coal into the previously mined area below the highwall. Mining will then advance into the next cut. Mining will continue in this manner advancing to the northwest with material to be spoiled to the southeast into subsequent open pits until mining is completed in Increment No. 1.” The other two increments would be worked in a similar manner.

CanAm Coal (TSX-V: COE) (OTCQX: COECF) last year bought 50% of Birmingham Coal & Coke (BCC). BCC has three operating mines and a brokerage business in Alabama. CanAm has an option to purchase an additional 30% ownership within the next two years and the remaining 20% within five years. CanAm completed an independent reserve report for BCC which determined the coal resource at 6 million tons of proven reserves. On this basis, and considering current production levels, average mine life for the BCC mines is 10 years.

CanAm said May 1 that it remains committed to execute on its aggressive growth plan for 2012 of achieving between 450,000 to 550,000 tons of annual production. In order to achieve this growth in 2012, the company is looking to expand production at some of its current mines and is working to open up any of the following new mines: Davis, Posey Mill 2, Knight and Old Union 2. Each of these properties are at various stages of the permitting and are, for the most part, adjacent to current mines.

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.