Elgin Mining settles federal complaint in western Kentucky

Canada-based Elgin Mining, which when it operated coal mines in western Kentucky was known as Phoenix Coal, has agreed to settle non-compliance issues, associated with the Clean Water Act, for failure to perform mitigation requirements at former mining sites in Muhlenberg and Crittenden counties, Ky.

That is according to a July 31 statement from David Hale, the U.S. Attorney for Western Kentucky. Elgin exited the western Kentucky coal business several years ago when it sold its coal mining operations there to Oxford Resource Partners. It changed its name from Phoenix Coal in 2010.

Elgin Mining and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay a $3,221,292 settlement. Between 2005 and 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville Division (USACE) issued four permits or authorizations under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to three companies which at the time were wholly owned subsidiaries of Phoenix Coal. Those permits were issued to Charolais Coal No. 1 LLC, C&R Coal (two permits) and Crittenden County Coal. The permits allowed these companies to discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States in conjunction with their surface mining operations located in Muhlenberg and Crittenden counties.

Among the permit conditions were requirements that the permit holders provide mitigation by restoring or establishing additional streams and wetlands to replace the streams and wetlands lost as a result of the mining activities. The Justice Dept. alleged that the current permit holders, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Elgin Mining, failed to perform the required on-site mitigation which resulted in the loss of aquatic resources.

All parties agreed that Elgin Mining would pay $3,071,292 to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ Wetland and Stream Mitigation In-Lieu-Fee Program, which provides mitigation credits for impacts to Kentucky’s wetlands and streams associated with discharges of dredged or fill material. Elgin Mining is also required to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 to the United States.

This agreement constitutes a compete and final settlement of all civil claims for injunctive relief and civil penalties against Elgin Mining under Section 404 concerning the mitigation requirements of the permits.

Elgin Mining is now focused on production at the Björkdal gold mine in Sweden. Its portfolio also includes the Lupin and Ulu gold projects located in Nunavut, Canada. 

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.