The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment until Nov. 2 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act application from Oxford Mining Co.-Kentucky LLC for the Rose France strip mine located southeast of Central City in Muhlenberg County, Ky.
“The proposed project area, Kentucky Division of Mine Permits (KDMP) Permit No. 889-0153-AM-1, is a 214-acre expansion of an existing surface coal mining operation (KDMP permit No. 889-0153),” said a Corps public notice. “The proposed operation will use the open strip pit method of mining. Approximately 48% of the project area has been previously mined. A majority of the existing streams are drains that have formed through the erosional processes of these previously mined areas.”
The Corps said the proposed excavated area will fill 6,243 feet of intermittent streams and 4,391 feet of ephemeral streams, for a total of 10,634 linear feet of stream impacts. About 1.36 acres of Palustrine Emergent (PEM) wetlands, 4.08 acres of Phragmites PEM wetlands, 5.64 acres of Palustrine Forested (PFO) wetlands, and 3.18 acres of Palustrine Scrub/Shrub (PSS) wetlands will be filled. About 2.5 acres of open water will also be filled.
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that the Rose France mine got a production start in the fourth quarter of 2010 and produced 710,954 tons in all of 2011 and 356,808 tons in the first half of this year.
The parent of Oxford Mining Co.-Kentucky is Ohio-based Oxford Resource Partners LP (NYSE: OXF). The parent has recently cut back its western Kentucky coal output and shifted some of the mine equipment from that region to its Ohio mines due to soft markets and the loss earlier this year of a contract to supply 800,000 tons per year to Big Rivers Electric. Oxford and Big Rivers are battling in a Kentucky court about that contract termination. Oxford’s western Kentucky mines do have other business with customers like Louisville Gas & Electric.