The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has set a Sept. 18 lease auction for the Hay Creek II coal tract, which is being sought by Buckskin Mining for its adjacent Buckskin strip mine in the Wyoming Powder River Basin.
]This coal lease sale is being held in response to a lease by application (LBA) filed by Kiewit Mining Properties, on behalf of its subsidiary, Buckskin Mining. The coal resource to be offered consists of all reserves recoverable by surface mining methods in lands located about 12 miles north of Gillette, Wyo. This property covers 1,253 acres. The tract is adjacent to federal leases along the northern and western lease boundary of the Buckskin mine, and adjacent to additional unleased federal coal to the west and north.
The LBA tract contains surface mineable coal reserves in the Wyodak-Anderson Coal Zone currently being recovered in the adjacent, existing mine. On the LBA tract, there are two mineable seams, the Anderson Rider, which ranges from about 2 feet to 49 feet thick and averages about 26 feet thick, and the merged Anderson/Canyon Seams, which range from about 46 feet to 120 feet thick and average about 68 feet thick. Overall, the two mineable seams average about 94 feet thick over the LBA tract. The two seams are continuous over the entire tract with no outcrops or subcrops. Overburden depth to the upper Anderson Rider ranges from approximately 50 feet to 449 feet thick and averages approximately 163 feet thick. The interburden to the merged Anderson/Canyon Seams ranges from 0 feet to 190 feet thick and averages about 88 feet thick.
The tract contains an estimated 167,001,577 tons of mineable coal. The total mineable stripping ratio of the coal in Bank Cubic Yards per ton is approximately 2.8:1.
The Hay Creek II LBA coal is ranked as subbituminous C. The overall average quality on an as-received basis is 8,297 Btu/lb containing approximately 0.27% sulfur. These quality averages place the coal reserves near the lower end of the range of coal quality currently being mined in the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin. Mines north of Gillette have the lower Btu coals, with Btu content climbing for the mines south of the city.
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows a sharp downturn in Buckskin’s production lately, which is not surprising since the low-Btu mines in the PRB tend to get hit hardest during a coal market downturn like the one seen over the last couple of years. The mine produced 7.4 million tons in the first half of this year, 18.1 million tons in all of 2012 and around 25 million tons in each of 2011 and 2010, according to MSHA data.