The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said Aug. 12 that it will conduct a competitive coal lease sale for a tract of federal coal in Sanpete and Sevier counties, Utah.
The tract is located approximately 10.5 miles west of Emery, under lands managed by the Manti-La Sal and Fishlake National Forests. The Greens Hollow Tract is located in in the Wasatch Plateau Known Recoverable Coal Resource Area.
The 6,175-acre tract contains approximately 55.7 million tons of recoverable coal adjacent to and northwest of the existing SUFCO Mine. That mine is operated by Canyon Fuels LLC, a subsidiary of Bowie Resource Partners LLC. The BLM intends to offer the tract to the highest qualified bidder at a competitive coal lease sale being held at 1 p.m. MDT on Sept. 22. It would be very unusual for a competing bidder to show up for this auction.
This sale is consistent with Secretarial Order 3338, issued earlier this year by the Secretary of the Interior, which exempted from its leasing “pause” any lease sales being held in connection with pending applications “for which the environmental analysis under NEPA has been completed and a Record of Decision or Decision Record has been issued by the BLM or the applicable Federal surface management agency” prior to the date of the order. Here, the NEPA analysis was completed in February 2015 and the U.S. Forest Service issued its Record of Decision consenting to the sale of the tract in October 2015.
Once a coal lease is issued, an annual rental payment of $3 per acre is required, along with a royalty payment of 8% of the value of coal produced by underground mining methods. The Greens Hollow Tract will be mined using underground methods.
SUFCO, Utah’s largest coal mine, produced 2.9 million tons in the first half of this year and 6 million tons in all of 2015, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.