Report: Kiewit halts development work on new Haystack coal mine

An April 8 report in the Uinta County, Wyo., Herald said that Kiewit Mining Group has idled operations at its in-development Haystack coal strip mine due to soft market conditions.

“The coal market is very, very soft,” Uinta County Economic Development Director Dell Atkinson told the Herald. “It’s off about 11 percent from last year. They’ve got more coal than they can use right now; their inventory is high.”

Atkinson said Kiewit Mining plans to shut down the work on the mine, which had not yet begun production, only temporarily, while it sees how coal markets go. He also said some of the workers at the site would likely be relocated to other Kiewit operations. Construction on the road to the site, which was paid for by the county and through state grants, was begun in September 2012 and is expected to be completed by June, the report said.

Haystack Coal Co. is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Kiewit Mining Group. The mine, permitted to ship up to 1.5 million tons per year, is located 20 miles northeast of Evanston in southwestern Wyoming.

“The mine is a green-field site development and will produce a sub-bituminous coal from the Adaville Geologic Formation,” said the Kiewit website. “There will be five spate coal seams that Haystack will mine, which range from 25 feet to 75 feet in thickness. The seams dip at an average of 20 degrees. The operation includes an 18 cy hydraulic excavator and a fleet of 100 ton haul trucks. The current economic mine life is projected to be 15 years. An additional coal lease application is currently being pursued which will extend the mine life for an additional 12 years. The overall site development work has included removal of topsoil, building an access road and haul roads, constructing sedimentation ponds and ditches, grading the facility area, and establishing working benches in the pit. The fixed facilities, including the coal plant and shop, are in design phase with construction anticipated for mid-2013.”

A dominant coal market in southwest Wyoming is the Jim Bridger power plant of PacificCorp and Idaho Power, which takes coal from both captive and non-captive mining operations in the region. Some of the coal from this region also moves to other markets in states like Nevada.

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.