Blackhawk Mining seeks permit for Kentucky coal mine

The rapidly expanding Blackhawk Mining LLC is seeking a wastewater permit from the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection on a surface mine project located near Printer in Floyd County.

The DEP on Dec. 18 put out for public comment a socioeconomic report on the project written by the company and signed by company Vice President D. Edward Brown. This mine would be called Akers Branch and would be a multi-seam operation using surface and auger/highwall mining methods. The mine would produce a total of 2.1 million tons over an unspecified period of time and would employ about 15 workers.

Blackhawk Mining is controlled by coal operators Thomas and John Potter and has four mines, all strip jobs, listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Those mines, their status, and their production in the first nine months of this year are:

  • Blackhawk #2, active, 240,442 tons;
  • Blackhawk #5, nonproducing, last production in the fourth quarter of 2011;
  • Blackhawk #4, active, 134,868 tons; and
  • Orchard Branch #1, new mine, no recorded production yet.

CSX Transportation said in a recent newsletter that Pine Branch Coal Sales, shipping out of Hoyt, Ky., one of the oldest family-owned eastern Kentucky coal companies, has recently sold its business. “Blackhawk Mining, LLC (Mitch Potter and Danny Moon), has acquired the Hoyt origin from the Duff family,” CSX noted. “Hoyt is located on the Eastern Kentucky Subdivision between Hazard and Ravenna, Ky., just south of Jackson. Hoyt has been a continuing source of coal for Southern Company and, for many years, [the Tennessee Valley Authority]. Patriarch Don Duff began mining this property in 1957 and passed it down to his son Dave, who has operated the company since the early 1990s. Blackhawk believes Hoyt represents an excellent opportunity to expand its business. The Potter family has a long history of mining in Kentucky and, except for a brief period of ownership of the ‘Bull Creek 2’ property located on Rt. 3 in West Virginia, returned to their Kentucky roots following the purchase of the Spurlock property located near Martin, Ky., in 2010. While the Duff family will be missed, we look forward to Blackhawk Mining’s continued operation.”

MSHA data shows that five operations in Perry County, Ky., including three strip mines, had their registrations transferred on Nov. 9 from Pine Branch Coal Sales to Pine Branch Mining LLC, with Pine Branch Mining controlled by the Potters. The transferred operations are the #20, Combs Branch and Jakes Branch strip mines, plus the Hoyt Tipple and Pads Branch Washer.

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.