Bunn’s Coal River Mining permits unusually large strip job

Coal operator Jim Bunn’s Coal River Mining LLC is seeking a 1,705-acre surface mining permit in southern West Virginia from the mining division at the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP said in an Oct. 4 public notice that the application, for permit #S500812, covers the surface disturbance of approximately 1,705 acres in order to surface mine in the Five Block, Clarion, Stockton, Coalburg, Lower Coalburg seams, and all associated splits and riders of each seam. The proposed operation will be discharging water into unnamed tributaries of various streams and is located 3 miles northeast of Julian in Boone and Kanawha counties.

DEP records show that this application, for the No. 9 strip mine, was filed on Aug. 3. The public notice marks the fact the application is now considered as administratively complete, which means the blanks have been filled in properly and it can now get full processsing, which for a strip mine this size is probably something that will take one to two years to complete. This is one of the largest strip mine applications, in terms of acres, filed in recent years at the DEP.

The only other application that Coal River Mining had pending with the DEP’s mining division as of Oct. 4 was filed in July 2011 and is for the Preparation Plant Utility Area No. 1 in Boone County.

The newest mine permits issued by the DEP to Coal River Mining came out in 2010, so this company doesn’t permit new mines that often. Those permits cover the Tiny Creek No. 4 deep mine, the 85-acre Mine 5AA strip job and the 667-acre Mine 7 strip operation. A Sept. 24 DEP site inspection report for Mine 7 shows that operation as “active, moving coal,” with only 100 acres of the permit area disturbed so far.

Coal River Mining has listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration three surface mines, three deep mines and the Spruce Laurel prep plant, all located in this same general area in southern West Virginia.

U.S. Office of Surface Mining records show Coal River Mining as owned in equal 25% shares by Jim Bunn, Jim Bunn II, Franklin Robertson and Steve Carter. Those parties are involved in various other companies in Central Appalachia and also in Knight Hawk Coal LLC in Illinois.

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.