Foresight Energy gets new waste disposal permit for Deer Run mine

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 3 granted a final NPDES water permit to the Hillsboro Energy LLC unit of Foresight Energy LP (NYSE: FELP) for new refuse disposal area at the Deer Run longwall mine in Montgomery County.

The permit covers Refuse Disposal Area No. 2, containing of a total of 317.82 acres. The surface facilities at this refuse disposal area contains the rail loading loop, access roads, drainage control structures, sedimentation ponds, fine and coarse coal refuse disposal area, topsoil and subsoil stockpile areas. A synthetic liner is to be installed under the refuse disposal area and sedimentation basins.

In a summary of its reponses to citizen comments during the permitting process, the agency noted that this permitting is not about the facility’s air permit, which was a subject of citizen criticism. It added: “Deer Run does not test for nor are they required to test for how much particulate matter permeates beyond the mine site. The air permit for Deer Run limits the mine to 12 million clean tons per year or 20 million raw tons per year, which also controls or limits the amount of air emissions generated.”

Foresight Energy, founded by coal operator Chris Cline, is a leading producer and marketer of thermal coal with over 3 billion tons of coal reserves in the Illinois Basin. Its four mining complexes (Williamson, Sugar Camp, Hillsboro and Macoupin) are designed to support up to nine longwall mining systems with a combined productive capacity of over 67 million tons of high-Btu coal per year.

Hillboro Energy’s mining complex is designed to support up to three separate longwall mines producing up to 28.5 million tons per year. It began development of its first mine, Deer Run, in October 2010 and began coal production in 2011. Its first longwall began operating in August 2012. The mine is operated by contractor Patton Mining LLC. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that the Deer Run mine produced 5.6 million tons in 2014, up from 4.8 million tons in 2013 and 2.4 million tons in 2012.

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.