The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a May 23 public notice that it has gotten an application from the Maple Coal unit of Walter Energy (NYSE: WLT) for a 100-acre steep slope and area surface mine in Fayette County.
The application, for permit #S300412, covers mining of the Upper Coalburg, Lower Coalburg, Stockton, Stockton A, and Stockton A Rider seams of coal. The application, for the Mt McGuire mine located near Powellton, was actually filed on Feb. 24. The public notice marks the fact that it was recently deemed to be administratively complete, which means the blanks have been filled in properly and it can now get full processing.
This is the only pending mine permit application for Maple Coal at the DEP. The newest issued mine permit for the company came out in April 2011 for the Maple Eagle East deep mine, working the Eagle coal seam in Fayette County. The DEP database shows that mine as “active, no coal removed.”
As a result of the acquisition of Western Coal in April 2011, Walter Energy acquired four mines on two properties in West Virginia which produce both metallurgical and thermal coal: the Gauley Eagle deep mine and surface mine in Nicholas County and the Maple deep mine and surface mine in Fayette County. “The Maple underground mine operates in the Eagle coal seam and employs room-and-pillar mining with continuous miners to produce a premium high volatile coking coal, which is used in the steelmaking process,” said Walter’s Feb. 29 Form 10-K annual report. “Both the Maple and Gauley Eagle surface mines produce primarily thermal coal.”
There are four Maple Coal operations listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration: the longstanding Maple Eagle No. 1 deep mine; the longstanding Huffman strip job; a prep plant; and Maple Eagle East, the new deep mine that is shown with no production through the first quarter of this year.