The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, W.Va., is taking comment until June 16 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit application from Carbon Resources Development on a coal prep plant project in southern West Virginia.
The proposed project would be located about 1.5 miles north of Maben in the Slab Fork District of Raleigh and Wyoming counties. It would result in the discharge of fill material into unnamed tributaries of Slab Fork, a tributary of the Guyandotte River.
“The applicant proposes to construct and operate a coal preparation plant (Maben Preparation Plant), refuse disposal area and railroad load-out facility which would result in the discharge of fill material into waters of the United States (U.S.),” said a Corps notice. “The required Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Permit O-3025-12 was approved by the [West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection] on April 9, 2013 for the Maben Preparation Plant.”
The notice added: “The required SMCRA U-3009-12 for the Maben Mine No. 1 underground mine was approved by the WVDEP on January 7, 2013 (coal from this mine would be processed at the Maben Preparation Plant). The required SMCRA O-3012-12 for the Maben Refuse Disposal Area (which would be used for coal refuse generated from processing at the Maben Preparation Plant) is currently pending with the WVDEP. Based on information received from the applicant, the purpose of the proposed project is to facilitate the extraction, processing and transportation to market of metallurgical-grade coal from the applicant’s Pocahontas No. 3 coal seam leasehold. Metallurgical coal is used primarily to generate coke, which is a necessary material for the construction and manufacturing of steel.”
The proposed discharges of fill material into waters of the U.S. associated with disposal of coal refuse would not occur until approximately 15 years after project initiation. Up to that point, the applicant would utilize extensive upland and non-jurisdictional areas to dispose of refuse, the Corps noted. All phases of the project, including final reclamation of the site, would be completed in approximately 30 years.
The Maben prep plant and the Maben No. 1 mine were listed last year with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration under Maben Coal LLC, with MSHA showing the controlling party for Maben Coal as Appleton Coal LLC.
British bank Investec said on its website that Appleton Coal is one of its project companies, describing the company this way: “Privately held metallurgical coal company which owns 100% of a high quality metallurgical coal reserve in West Virginia. The Company, backed by Investec, is in the process of securing permits before taking the Project through development and into production.”
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s website shows that the President of Carbon Resources Development is R. William West of Berea, Ky., and that its incorporator was Robert Worley of Beaver, W.Va.