Alpha’s Alex Energy unit seeks West Virginia mine permits

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a Nov. 7 public notice that the Alex Energy unit of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) is seeking an Article 11/West Virginia National Pollutant Discharge Elimination water permit for a new strip mine in Fayette and Kanawha counties.

The permit is needed “in order to open and operate a coal surface mine (Long Branch Surface Mine-SMA S301011) utilizing surface, contour and highwall mining techniques in the 5-Block, Upper Clarion, Middle Clarion, Lower Clarion, Upper Coalburg, Lower Coalburg, Buffalo Creek, Lower Winifrede, Chilton A1 and Chilton Rider seams of coal and to discharge treated water and stormwater runoff therefrom into unnamed tributaries of/and Cedar Creek of Paint Creek, unnamed tributaries of Fifteenmile Creek of Paint Creek, unnamed tributaries of/and Long Branch of Tenmile Fork of Paint Creek and unnamed tributaries of/and Cabin Creek – all of the Kanawha River,” said the notice.

Alex Energy applied in April 2011 with the DEP for the SMA mining permit mentioned in the notice, with that still-pending application covering a 463-acre job. The only other pending mine permit application (U300312) from Alex Energy was filed on Feb. 15 for the Titan room-and-pillar mine, to work the Alma coal seam at a site near Ameagle in Raleigh County.

The DEP has also issued a couple of mine permits lately to Alex Energy for a surface and a deep mine in Nicholas County.

  • Oct. 15 permit issuance, Sugarcamp Winifrede No. 3 room-and-pillar mine in Winifrede coal seam, located near Drennen; and
  • Sept. 10 permit issuance, 204-acre Peachorchard strip mine (working the Coalburg, Stockton and Stockton A seams), located near Gilboa.

Alex Energy is one of the operations that Alpha picked up in a June 2011 buy of Massey Energy.

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.