Patriot’s Coyote Coal hunts for rare Corps mine permit

The Coyote Coal Co. LLC unit of Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX) is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit on the Hill Fork strip mine, to be located 1.7 miles southeast of Julian in Boone County, W.Va.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, W.Va., is taking public comment until June 22 on the application. The Corps office in Huntington has been the target of numerous environmental group lawsuits –and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency get-tough permitting crackdown – related to Section 404 permitting, so public notices like this one have been rarely issued of late.

The Corps noted that the Hill Fork mine would also be covered by West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection permit #S503908. The project would involve creation of three valley fills, with the company deciding that this kind of surface mining would be the only way to economically recover this coal reserve, the Corps said. This would be an area, contour, auger and highwall miner job working the 5 Block and Stockton coal seams and seam splits. The DEP database shows that the state mine permit application for this 471-acre project, filed in December 2008, is still pending.

The other pending Coyote Coal mine permit applications at the DEP are for:

  • the Fivemile Refuse Impoundment;
  • the Cub Adkins Haulroad;
  • the 1,655-acre Joes Creek surface mine;
  • the 1,226-acre Cub Branch surface mine; and
  • the 1,087-acre Stanley Fork surface mine.

Coyote Coal has three operations listed under its name at the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration: the Toms Fork Loadout, the Buffalo No. 2 Gas deep mine and the Trace Branch deep mine.

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.