Dana Mining LLC is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would cover water impacts related to the construction of the Fetty underground mine portal in Monongalia County, W.Va.
The Corps office in Pittsburgh has the application out for public comment until May 25. The site would impact unnamed tributaries of Dunkard Creek and wetlands abutting and adjacent to unnamed tributaries of Dunkard Creek. Dunkard Creek is a major tributary of the Monongahela River. The site is located approximately 3.5 miles northwest of Cassville in Monongalia County.
“The applicant proposes to construct the Fetty Portal (Slope) and associated facilities,” said a Corps public notice. “The purpose of the project is to provide efficient access, increased safety, and adequate ventilation to the new section of the existing Prime No. 1 Underground Mine (Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Permit (SMCRA) No. U025100). No coal will be mined at the surface with this SMCRA permit. Currently, this site is an abandoned and reclaimed surface mine and coal slurry impoundment site that at this time has no relation to the Prime No. 1 Underground Mine. The proposed surface site will consist of a portal, access shaft, haul roads, access roads, two (2) sediment ponds, drainage control facilities, parking area, supply yard, bath house and sewage treatment system, shop, hoist house, railroad spurs, mine water treatment system, and a substation. The footprint of the fill necessary to construct these facilities has been minimized to the extent practicable to reduce impacts to Waters of the US and to allow for the construction of this modern portal and related support facilities to enhance the miners working environment and safety.”
The project will provide for more efficient access to this mine. Men, equipment and materials will go into this mine through this slope portal. This will decrease the travel distance underground to the working face by about five miles, which makes this Sewickley-seam coal more economical to mine, the Corps noted. Also, this shorter distance provides for improved ventilation and safety for the miners.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration database shows Dana Mining as controlled by GenPower Holdings LP and local coal operator James Laurita Jr. GenPower got involved in local coal production to support its newly-built Longview power plant in the area. MSHA data shows that Prime No. 1 produced 302,512 tons in the first quarter of this year and 1.4 million tons in all of 2011. The mine has been listed with MSHA since 1974.
The 695-MW (net) Longview plant, located on the Monongahela River just north of Morgantown, W.Va., went into operation in 2011.