BLM to write enviro review on additional lease area for Rawhide coal mine

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comments until Feb. 17 on a proposed lease modification application by Peabody Caballo Mining LLC (PCM), operator of the Rawhide Mine in Campbell County, Wyoming.

PCM proposes to modify its existing federal coal lease by including an additional tract of federal coal containing 291 acres. The proposed modification tract is located approximately nine miles north of Gillette, adjacent to the existing lease, in the Powder River Basin. It is bounded on all sides by existing federal coal leases to the north, south, and east, and Highway 14/16 to the west.

The proposed modification tract is located within the boundaries of the currently approved Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Rawhide Coal Mine permit area. If the modification tract is not incorporated into the Rawhide coal mining operations in the near future, the federal coal within the tract will be bypassed and will likely become economically unfeasible to recover, BLM said in a Feb. 3 notice.

The BLM will prepare an environmental analysis prior to modifying a federal coal lease. The Feb. 3 notice initiates a 14-day public scoping process and solicits the views and comments of the public in order to ensure that potential socioeconomic and environmental issues are considered and addressed in the environmental assessment.

PCM is a subsidiary of Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), the nation’s largest coal producer. Rawhide produces a low-Btu coal for the PRB and is generally a swing producer that Peabody tends to back down in the toughest market conditions. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that the mine produced 15.5 million tons in 2014 and 14.2 million tons in 2013.

Said the Peabody website: “Rawhide Mine, located in Campbell County, Wyo., 10 miles north of Gillette on Highway 59, was acquired from Exxon Coal and Minerals Company on Nov. 1, 1994. Construction of the mine began in September 1974, with initial production beginning in August 1977. Mining was suspended in April 1999. Production resumed in late 2001, with shipment beginning the first quarter of 2002. The mine sold 14.2 million tons of compliance coal in 2013 and has a workforce of approximately 210. Remaining recoverable reserves total approximately 312 million tons. Rawhide has a permitted capacity of 24 million tons per year, with quality of about 8,300 Btu and 0.37 percent sulfur.”

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.