The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency sent a July 7 letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers saying that Peabody Arclar Mining LLC has cleared the state agency’s Section 401 Clean Water Act review for the new Rocky Branch strip mine, located about a mile west of Equality in Saline County, Ill.
The Section 401 clearance is a key step before the Corps can decided on issuing its own Section 404 permit for the project. The Rocky Branch mine would be located south of the Cottage Grove mine, which is nearing completion of mining. Approximately 8.8 million tons of recoverable coal are within the multiple-seam mine plan for Rocky Branch.
According to information given by Peabody Arclar Mining, significant social and economic losses would be experienced by the local economy if the mining plan does not proceed as planned. Specifically, about 200 jobs with a payroll of $21.6m annually would be lost along with many other spin off jobs resulting from the proposed mining activity.
A mine permit application filed at the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals said that the Rocky Branch mine will produce about 800,000 tons per year out of two pits. Pit 1 will work the Allenby, Danville No. 7, Herrin No. 6, Briar Hill No. 5a and Springfield No. 3 coal seams, while Pit 2 will work the Allenby and Herrin No. 6 seams.