The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment until July 19 on an application by Peabody Midwest Mining LLC for a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for additional reserve area for the big Bear Run strip mine in Sullivan County, Ind.
The new mining area is on Middle Fork Creek, Maria Creek, Pollard Ditch, unnamed tributaries of Buttermilk Creek, Middle Fork Creek, Maria Creek, Pollard Ditch, Brewer Ditch, associated wetlands, and open waters, located south of Dugger in Sullivan County. The proposed project would result in discharges of fill and/or dredged material into “waters of the United States” on a majority of a 7,252.2-acre site.
The site is pending approval by Indiana regulators under mine permit No. S-00256-5. Portions of the proposed impact area have been mined previously, the Corps noted. This project is an amendment to a 4,476-acre site approved under a prior Corps permit and a 2,666.5-acre site approved under another Corps permit.
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that the Bear Run mine, listed under Peabody Bear Run Mining LLC, went into production in 2010 and turned out 3 million tons that year, followed by 6.6 million tons in 2011 and 1.8 million tons in the first quarter of this year. Parent Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) has said the mine is targeted for production of 8 million tons per year and will be the biggest coal strip mine in the eastern U.S.
The Bear Run mine uses a combination of draglines, trucks and shovel, and tractor push to remove overburden and uncover coal in the Indiana No. 7, No. 6, No. 5A and No. 5 seams. The coal is hauled from the pit by truck to the preparation plant for crushing, processing and blending before being transported by train to utility customers, with much of the coal going to Indiana power plants.