BLM puts out environmental review of Bledsoe Coal reserve tract

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said in a notice to be published in the June 24 Federal Register that it is making available an environmental assessment on a Bledsoe Coal lease application for federal coal reserves in eastern Kentucky.

BLM’s Southeastern States Field Office will hold a public hearing to receive comments on the EA, Fair Market Value (FMV) and Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) documents for the coal resources in the Bledsoe/Beechfork lease tract. The hearing will be June 25 in Hyden, Ky., with public comments taken until July 25.

The lands included in the Bledsoe/Beechfork tract are located in Leslie County, Ky., about 10 miles south of Hyden on National Forest Service lands, in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Bledsoe Coal wants to mine these underground coal reserves as an extension from the existing Beechfork mine. Only deep mining is allowed on Forest Service land, with no surface disturbance, meaning the mine entries need to be on nearby property.

The tract has one minable coal bed, the Fire Clay. The minable portions of the coal bed in this area are around 2.5-3.0 feet in thickness. The tract contains more than 400,000 tons of recoverable high-volatile ‘A’ bituminous coal. The coal quality in the Fire Clay coal bed on an “as received basis” is: 12,900 Btu/lb, 6.5% moisture, 7.2% ash, 34.6% volatile matter, 51.5% fixed carbon and 1.02% sulfur.

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that Bledsoe Coal, a unit of James River Coal (NASDAQ: JRCC), has an active Beechfork deep mine in Leslie County that produced 128,523 tons in the first quarter of this year and 481,059 tons in all of 2012.

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.