The Oxford Mining Co. LLC unit of Oxford Resource Partners LP (NYSE: OXF) is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for the new Baker-Hendershot surface mine within the Muskingum River watershed in Washington Township, Muskingum County, Ohio.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, W.Va., is taking public comment on the application until Oct 29.
The company proposes the direct placement of fill material into six jurisdictional streams for a total of 3,178 linear feet (lf), said a Corps public notice. Discharges would occur in conjunction with the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act application #10462 once approved by the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management. An additional 134 lf of stream would be affected by the transport of sediment downstream to the waste treatment pond. Sediment transport associated with a waste treatment system is considered a secondary impact and is not regulated under Section 404.
The applicant’s stated overall project purpose is to develop and mine coal reserves in the Middle Kittanning #6 coal seam within the identified project area, the Corps noted. Oxford Mining’s alternatives analysis is currently being reviewed. No permit will be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose. The applicant has proposed three alternatives, the preferred, minimization and avoidance alternatives.
The preferred alternative would result in the discharge of 4,410 cubic yards of fill material into 3,178 lf of six jurisdictional streams and 0.07 acre of one jurisdictional wetland on the 140-acre site. The preferred alternative site includes about 60 acres of land affected by pre-law mining operations. The applicant would reclaim these areas as part of the preferred alternative. The area would be mined using the box cut method. Additional coal extraction using an auger would also occur.
The applicant’s minimization alternative would result in the discharge of 1,318.8 cubic yards of fill material into 1,055 lf of jurisdictional streams and reduce the project area to 96.8 acres. Areas affected by pre-law mining would not be reclaimed under the minimization alternative. The company’s avoidance alternative would result in no discharges of fill material into any jurisdictional waters of the U.S. The avoidance alternative would reduce the mineable area to 78.14 acres.