CONSOL seeks Corps permit on new Bailey coal refuse disposal area

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Pittsburgh is taking comment until Feb. 27 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit application from the Consol Pennsylvania Coal Co. LLC unit of CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) for new refuse disposal area for the giant Bailey prep plant in Greene County, Pa.

The applicant proposes to expand coal refuse disposal capacity at the Bailey Central Mine Complex (BCMC), which services the Bailey and Enlow Fork underground coal mines, the Corps notice said. The Bailey prep plant also serves the new Harvey mine, which got a longwall start in 2014. Coarse and fine coal refuse will be disposed of in two proposed coal refuse disposal areas (CRDA); CRDA No. 7 and CRDA No. 8 encompassing approximately 1,736 acres of the Enlow Fork watershed. These activities include placement of coal refuse and construction of appurtenant facilities including an overland conveyor, dams, access roads, and erosion and sediment control structures.

The project will be constructed in three phases: Phase I (CRDA No. 8), Phase II (CRDA No. 7 and No. 8 Support Area), and Phase III (CRDA No. 7). In total 23.242 acres of wetland, 1.628 acres of open water, and 83,822 linear feet of stream will be impacted. The applicant proposes to mitigate by purchasing credits from the proposed Robinson Fork Mitigation Bank.

In a Jan. 30 earnings presentation, CONSOL said the Bailey complex has a mine life of over 25 years and 800 million tons of coal reserves. It has five longwalls and 17 miner sections, and an annual production capacity 28 million tons. At this complex, CONSOL in 2014 loaded 26 million clean tons of coal and 2,031 trains. Both the CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern railroads are investing in capacity to take this coal off the originating Monongahela Railway (MGA). Recent upgrades include:

  • five new coal silos;
  • new train loadout (10,000 ton per hour (TPH) belt feed and new rail siding);
  • increased cleaning plant capacity from 6,300 TPH to 8,200 TPH;
  • eliminated vacuum filters and thermal dryers with screen bowl centrifuges to increase efficiency;
  • Enlow Fork Oak Springs Slope (reduce supply round-trip distance by 14 miles);
  • new overland belt conveyor system at Enlow Fork (eliminated seven miles of underground conveyors, sealed off 38.6 square miles of underground workings, and eliminated 12 airshafts);
  • Bailey Mine overland conveyor online four years prior with similar savings;
  • Harvey Mine is currently operating a new longwall system;
  • Bailey Mine is currently operating a new longwall face;
  • Area 5 fine coal refuse is in service;
  • Area 6 coarse coal refuse is being constructed; and
  • Refuse areas 7 and 8 have been designed and are being permitted. These areas will provide life-of-mine storage for refuse for the complex. These would be the areas covered by the Corps permitting.
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.