Oxford Mining Co. LLC is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a coal mine project in Belmont County, Ohio, called the Egypt Valley Wildlife Area operation.
The Corps office in Huntington, W.Va., on July 9 put the Section 404 Clean Water Act permit application on this project up for public comment until Aug. 11.
The proposed project is located within unnamed tributaries and wetlands to Stillwater Creek within the Tuscarawas River watershed. The project site encompasses 741 acres and is located three miles northwest of Morristown, along the north and south side of County Road 104 (Smith County Road) in Kirkwood and Union Townships, Belmont County.
“The applicant proposes to discharge 11,239 cubic yards of fill material into 801 linear feet (lf) of ephemeral stream, 1,007 lf of intermittent stream, 310 lf of perennial stream, 4.15 acres of stream impoundment and 2.78 acres of emergent wetland,” said the Corps notice. “In addition, 497 lf of stream will be affected by waste treatment to facilitate the mining operation. Fill discharge would be required to accomplish coal extraction (mine through) of the No. 8 and No.9 coal seams, construct a temporary haul road and a temporary sediment pond.”
Mining of the site is estimated to take five years to complete. Proposed discharges would occur in conjunction with the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) application currently pending with Ohio regulators.
The applicant’s stated overall project purpose is to develop and mine coal reserves in the Pittsburgh #8 and Meigs Creek #9 coal seams within the identified project area. The applicant’s alternatives analysis is currently being reviewed. No permit will be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose. The applicant’s preferred alternative would result in the discharge of fill material into 2,118 linear feet of jurisdictional stream channel and 2.78 acre of wetland. The minimal alternative would result in the discharge of 1,297 linear feet of stream channel and 0.14 acre of wetland.
Oxford Mining has indicated that there is no practicable alternative for the proposed project that completely avoids the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. and fulfills the project purpose. After reviewing the location of streams and wetlands in the project area in relation to the location of coal reserves, the applicant revised the permit area to avoid impacts to approximately 10,239 lf of stream and 17.15 acres of wetland.
Oxford Mining is a unit of Ohio-based Oxford Resource Partners LP (NYSE: OXF), which operates several strip mines in Ohio at any one time to serve customers like the Conesville power plant in Ohio.