The Carbonado Coal Mining LLC affiliate of coal operator John Baugues Jr. is seeking a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval on a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit on a coal mining project in Webster County in western Kentucky.
The Corps office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment on the application until Dec. 17. The project is located in the Jackson Ditch-Deer Creek watershed, specifically in unnamed tributaries to Jackson Ditch-Deer Creek and in wetlands adjacent to these tributaries located approximately 6 miles southwest of Sebree in Webster County.
“The proposed project would excavate and fill the majority of a 66-acre area, which is also being reviewed as the Carbonado Coal Mining LLC, Doc Cole Site by the Kentucky Division of Mine Permits (KDMP) ID No. 917-5022,” said a Corps notice. “The proposed project would fill approximately .085 acre of open water, .292 acre of wetlands, 2,730 linear feet of intermittent streams, and 2,241 linear feet of ephemeral streams. Once surface mining operations would be completed, the area would be regraded to approximate original contours, covered with soil material and revegetated to the approved KDMP post-mining land use.”
The applicant located the surface facilities related to a planned underground mine on a 66-acre site so that it would minimally impact “waters of the U.S.” Other mining techniques, including surface mining, were considered, but found not to be economically feasible due to the depth of the resources and the extensive environmental impacts to “waters of the U.S.”
On Jan. 24, the Carbonado #1 deep mine of Carbonado Coal Co. LP, located in Webster County, was first listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. It is still considered a new mine with no production yet. Also, listed on Feb. 22 at MSHA was the “new” Carbonado #2 strip mine in Hopkins County, Ky.
The company has its own website, which said: “Carbonado Coal Company is developing a coal property located in Webster County, West Kentucky. The underground mine would access the No. 9 seam which is the predominant seam mined in West Kentucky. The mining conditions are good with a typical seam height of 4.5 feet. Typical clean quality would be 12,200 Btu/lb and 2.5 percent sulfur. This property is twenty miles from the Green River and the Ohio River, where coal barge transportation is readily available. Eighteen miles east of the property is a large coal power plant owned by [Big Rivers Electric]. The target area is approximately 10,000 acres. The amount of mineable coal is approximately 30 million tons.”
The website said this area was mainly controlled by Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), which had leased the property until 2007. The mining output would be around 750,000 clean tons a year, the website added. The primary target for this coal, like with about any coal out of western Kentucky, would be scrubbed power plants in the eastern U.S. The website said this coal has certain advantages over high-chlorine coals out of Illinois.