United Minerals permits large surface coal mine in Indiana

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment until Sept. 8 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit application from United Minerals Co. LLC for a large coal mine project in Indiana.

The project will affect unnamed tributaries and adjacent wetlands and open waters to Big Creek and Clear Branch-Pigeon Creek in Warrick County, Ind. The company would relocate wetlands, open waters and streams to facilitate the removal of subsurface coal deposits.

The proposed project would result in the discharge of fill and/or dredged material into “waters of the United States” on a majority of a 3,084.6-acre site.  The site is pending approval by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Reclamation under Permit No. S-00374 for the High Point Mine.

The recovery of coal would require excavation of the overlying soil and rock materials, and mining through wetlands and streams as the operation advances across the 3,084.6-acre site. Sediment basins would be developed as close to the mining area as possible to effectively induce sedimentation from surface runoff of the disturbed areas. Mining and reclamation generally would occur simultaneously as mining pits are backfilled with overburden and re-soiled as the next cut is made. The re-soiled area is then revegetated, and returned to the approved post-mining land uses.

A majority of this proposed permit area has been previously disturbed by similar but earlier mining and associated activities. Approximately 2,238.3 of the 3,084.6 acres or about 73% of the proposed area of this mine have been previously mined and reclaimed per 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act requirements.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration database shows United Minerals Co. LLC as jointly controlled by Peabody Energy and United Minerals Inc. It has three surface mines in Indiana listed with MSHA: Somerville (in Gibson County), West 61 (Warrick County) and Cardinal (Pike County). 

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.