North Pratt Mining seeks permit for new Alabama deep coal mine

North Pratt Mining LLC filed an Aug. 17 permit application at the Alabama Surface Mining Commission for the Pratt No. 1 deep mine surface facilities, to be located in Jefferson County.

The mine site will consist of approximately 99 acres of surface disturbance, of which about 38 acres has been previously disturbed by surface mining, said the application. The coal recovery area will consist of approximately 600 acres for the proposed five-year mine plan. All of the Pratt coal seam mining rights within the mine area are owned by RGGS Corp. It is anticipated that continuous miners and continuous haulage will be used for room-and-pillar mining. Seven entries will be driven in an easterly direction to enter the coal reserves. Four previous entries were driven in a southeasterly direction by a previous mining operation and will be utilized by this operation.

The initial (main) entries were 18 feet wide and spaced on 70 foot centers in the vicinity of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and were continued to a point that provided clearance of the railroad from subsidence, assuming a 30 degree angle of draw, before any cross cuts were made, the application added. Mining under the railroad produced a recovery of less than 24%. At the point where clearance from the railroad was obtained, the main entries were widened to 20 feet and cross cuts 20 feetwide were taken on 70 foot centers. An additional main entry was added to make a total of five entries. This spacing was used in all the main headings and produced pillars of 50 feet wide and 50 feet long and coal recovery of approximately 48%. Panels with five entries wide and cross cuts spaced on 60 foot centers was used in previous mining operations. This spacing will produce pillars of 40 feet wide and 40 feet long and coal recovery of approximately 55%.

The new mining operations are planned for a seven entry system that will produce pillars of 40 feet wide and 40 feet long and coal recovery of approximately 55%. In areas outside the 30 degree angle of draw secondary pillar recovery will be used as a part of retreating from each panel after primary room and pillar operations are completed.

Coal removed from the mine will be processed through a dry screening system prior to being washed onsite. Major equipment to be used includes but may not be limited to continuous miners, roof bolting machines, coal scoops, coal cutting machines, loaders, radial stacker(s), rotary screen(s), wet screens, heavy media separators, cyclones, centrifuges, conveyors, pumps, fans, trucks, dozers, loaders, scrapers, compactors and backhoes.

Coal will be transported directly from the mine to a holding bin via conveyor belts. The coal will then travel from the holding bin to a rotary breaker where the coal will be down sized for further washing. The oversize material from the breaker will exit the system as coarse refuse and will be disposed of via mobile equipment within Coarse Refuse Disposal Area No. 1. The undersize material will continue through the system where it will pass through a series of wet screens, heavy media separators, cyclones, and centrifuges until the final clean coal product is reached.  Fine refuse produced by the washing process will be pumped from the plant to Slurry Ponds 001 and 002 or injected into the abandoned, underlying Bessie mine for disposal.

Construction of the preparation plant, conveyor systems, rotary breaker, holding bins, and transfer houses will begin with the clearing and grubbing of the construction site. This prep plant system will have a capacity of 250 tons per hour of mine run coal. Dependent upon the market for specific coal products, additional washing methods may be added to this facility.

The proposed entry to be faced up for the Pratt No. 1 mine is south of the workings of the old Lindbergh mine of Brookside Pratt Mining Co. on the Pratt seam of coal.  The reserve area of the new Pratt No. 1 mine is bordered by the Franklin mine of Franklin Coal on the west. A 200-foot barrier will be maintained in the vicinity of all old mine workings on the Pratt seam. The haul road and Coarse Refuse Disposal Area No. 1 serving the Pratt No. 1 mine is underlain by the old workings of the Lindbergh mine, the Davidson Coal Co. Coal Creek mine and the Blossburg mine. The majority of the Pratt No. 1 mine is underlain by the old workings of the Jim Walter Resources Bessie mine.

North Pratt Mining, out of Fort Smith, Ark., was first listed in the U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s ownership and control database on April 25. OSM shows the company as 100% owned by Coal Holdings USA LLC, with the President of North Pratt Mining being Jimmie Ryan. The parent of Coal Holdings USA is Stray Dog Mining LLC, with OSM data showing Ryan as the 50% owner of Stray Dog Mining, with the other 50% held by Wild Dog Mining Pty Ltd. Jason Lawler is shown as the sole owner of Wild Dog Mining. OSM shows Ryan with past positions in Alabama producers like Kodiak Coal and Oak Mountain Energy. OSM doesn’t show Lawler with any past coal company associations.

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.