BLM schedules Jan. 4 auction for Greens Hollow coal tract in Utah

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will announce in the Dec. 1 Federal Register that it has set a new date of Jan. 4 for a coal lease auction on the Greens Hollow Tract, which is next to the SUFCO longwall mine, the largest coal mine in Utah.

The sale tract is located in Sanpete and Sevier counties, Utah. The Greens Hollow coal lease sale was originally scheduled to be held in September. Due to an appeal filed with the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) by four environmental groups, BLM was required to postpone the previous lease sale. On Oct. 26, the IBLA denied the request for a stay, holding that the environmental groups failed to show a likelihood of immediate and irreparable harm resulting from BLM’s decision to hold a competitive coal lease sale for the Greens Hollow tract. This notice announces a new date for the previously postponed lease sale.

This lease sale is being held in response to a lease by application submitted by Ark Land. That application was assigned by Ark to Canyon Fuel Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Bowie Resource Partners LLC. Bowie bought the adjacent SUFCO mine and related assets earlier this decade from Arch Coal. Notable is that Bowie is the only likely bidder in this ostensibly competitive lease auction, since SUFCO is the only nearby mine and this tract isn’t big enough to support a new mine.

The lease area contains 6,175.39 acres. The Greens Hollow Tract has one minable coal bed, which is designated as either the Upper Hiawatha or the Lower Hiawatha seam. These seams are approximately 11 feet in thickness. The coal beds contain approximately 73.4 million in-place tons of coal. However, based on BLM’s assessment and mitigation proposed by the U.S. Forest Service to address subsidence impacts, the tract being offered for sale is projected to contain approximately 55.7 million tons of technically recoverable high-volatile C bituminous coal.

The “as received basis” coal quality in the Upper Hiawatha coal bed is: 11,565 Btu/lb., 7.46% moisture, 9.81% ash, 36.55% volatile matter, 46.1% fixed carbon, and 0.55% sulfur. The “as received basis” coal quality in the Lower Hiawatha coal bed is: 11,538 Btu/lb., 7.21% moisture, 9.69% ash, 38.88% volatile matter, 43.85% fixed carbon, and 1.26% sulfur.

U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that SUFCO produced 4 million tons in the first three quarters of this year and 6 million tons in all of 2015.

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.